Rain fails to dampen spirits at raft race

The Navigation Inn team head towards the finishing line. 110830ARpic4.
The Navigation Inn team head towards the finishing line. 110830ARpic4.

THIS year’s Great Ripon Raft Race has raised its largest ever amount for charity despite a torrential downpour bringing proceedings to an early finish.

The event was held at the Canal Basin in Ripon on Saturday, August 27, and raised £2,300 for organisers Scuba Diving for All, which works with people of all ages who have physical and learning difficulties.

Trevor White, a volunteer for the group, said: “It was going really well until the heavens opened with a torrential downpour at about 2pm. I have never seen anything like it.

“In six years, it’s the first time we’ve had problems with the races but despite the rain you could say it has been the most successful event we have had.”

The race attracted a large crowd while the sun was still out with a Formula One racing simulator and climbing wall proving popular with visitors on dry land.

“Just before the heavens opened it was packed. I looked around and there were people everywhere,” said Mr White.

Once the bad weather arrived, proceedings had to be suspended for around 45 minutes until the heaviest of the rain passed. When the event was resumed, further raft race heats were held before the Lamb and Flag team came first in the final, making it the third year running the Ripon pub has provided the winning team.

“We had to curtail other events such as the bath and swan pedalo races,” added Mr White.

Because of the poor weather, organisers were also unable to hold a prize presentation at the end of the day but plans are being made to hold a ceremony indoors in Ripon later this month.

• Results – raft race winner: Lamb and Flag; junior raft race winner: SDA Juniors; best-decorated raft: Lazy Ladies, from Wolsley; in-the drink (for falling in the most): MKM Building Supplies; best-decorated juniors: The Gnome Clan.

• For more pictures see this week’s Ripon Gazette.