WOMEN gave Ascot a run for its money when their posh hats and frocks dazzled in the glorious sunshine of the Marlow Town Regatta and Festival.

Some 10,000 people visited the event on each day of the sun-filled weekend, which saw past and present pupils from all of the town's schools and young families make the most of the sizzling hot temperatures.

Those who weren't taking part in the races organised by Marlow Rowing Club were out on the grass, sipping drinks and soaking up the sun rays or visiting the food and craft stalls and the fun fair.

Gemma Clark, 19, from Dean Lane in Cookham, who is currently on a gap year, said: "We really enjoy dressing up and mingling and the fact that everyone looks gorgeous. And we can meet up with people we've not seen for a long time."

The weekend got off to a fine start on Saturday morning when champagne glasses were raised after president of the regatta Sir Steve Redgrave gave an opening speech.

He said: "Anne and I are very proud to be presidents of the Marlow Town Regatta and Festival. As a young kid the regatta was something I always looked forward to. Before rowing it was the fair and then I got into the stuff in the water and that took over but it was still a lot of fun and I'm pleased that our family still enjoy the traditions of the regatta which appeals to everyone. There's something here for all the family."

Sir Steve was with his wife Lady Anne Redgrave and their daughter Sophie, who was with school friend Felicity Flashman.

Together the 12-year-olds officially opened the weekend as they said: "We are proud to present the Marlow Town Regatta open."

Rowers from the town's schools raced on the river on Saturday and on Sunday, and teams from across the south east took part in the day's dragon boat racing to raise thousands of pounds for charity. Other highlights included the mayor's reception in Court Garden on Saturday afternoon. It was attended by Marlow MP Paul Goodman and officials from District One of Budapest which, if plans by the council are realised, could be Marlow's second twin town.

Dennis Sargeant, a spokesman for the festival committee, said: "It was a fantastic weekend."

TWO talented teenagers with promising sporting careers ahead of them were the winners of this year's Sports Personality of the Year accolade which for the first time ever was a double award.

Marlow Mayor Richard Scott wanted to give the award to someone young and was so overwhelmed with the high quality of this year's entries that he decided to give it to two people.

The recipients are 17-year-old hockey player Kathryn McGonigle, a Year 12 Wycombe High School pupil who lives in Quoitings Drive, Marlow, and 15-year-old golfer Tyrell Hatton, a pupil at Great Marlow School.

Kathryn was presented with her award by the mayor at his reception in Court Garden on Saturday the first day of the Marlow Town Regatta and Festival.

Speaking during the presentation ceremony, the mayor said: "The town council had two excellent candidates from which to choose in fact, they were such outstanding sportspersons that this year we decided to make it a joint award."

Kathryn hopes to study sports science at university and first sparked up her interest in sport as a youngster at Danesfield Primary School.

She said: "I played rugby when I was five but when I got to school I realised I couldn't play it with the boys. I tried netball but that was really boring. So I tried hockey instead. I like playing in a team."

The award was something of a pleasant surprise for the hockey player as her mother Jackie, a PE teacher at Piper's Corner School in Great Kingshill, nominated her for the award.

Mrs McGonigle said: "Kathryn had no idea about it until the letter came through the door."

Kathryn's talent for both indoor and outdoor hockey was encouraged by Wycombe High School when she became a pupil there in 2000.

In Year Seven she was selected for the Bucks County under 13s hockey team and has played hockey every year for the county since then being captain of the under-13s, -14s, -15s and -16s team and leading her teams to the national finals for the last three years.

Her under-16s indoor hockey team also won the nationals last year.

The midfielder has also just returned from the under-17s national finals where the Bucks team were runners up.

Meanwhile, Tyrell is such an established golfer that he has already led the way in some men's tournaments.

He first swung a golf club at the age of 13 months and when he was just three years old he played on the par three golf course at Wycombe Heights.

Cllr Scott said in his speech: "Tyrell is clearly a very talented golfer with a great future ahead of him. In 2005 at Harleyford, Tyrell came third in the men's club championship, and was winner of the mens' scratch knockout and became junior club champion. His current handicap is four and I know that he is trying to get it down to two during this year."

Between the ages of ten and 14 he was a member of the Bucks, Berks and Oxon under 14s squad and is currently a junior member of Harleyford Golf Club. His award was collected at the ceremony by his mother on his behalf while he was playing in a golf tournament.