A glorious morning on the riverside in Chester’s Groves and Meadows greeted enthusiastic raft paddlers and large crowds of onlookers for this year’s Rotary Raft Race.
The event was held in support of the Chester branches of the National Autistic Society, SSAFA, the Armed Forces Charity, and others of the Rotary Club of Chester.
Nearly 30 Power on the Water themed rafts and their crews paddled and splashed their way to the finishing line just above the weir, often drenched by the antics of futuristic flyboarder Jay St John, who once again stunned the crowds with his spectacular performance of tricks and spins up to 40ft in the air before the start of the race.
There were some outstanding interpretations of the raft theme Power on the Water including Top Trump which featured a lifelike President Donald Trump directing his fleet with “all guns blazing” entered by Peacock Garage plus an impressive replica of Bluebird, Donald Campbell’s ill fated world water speed record attempt on Lake Coniston 50 years ago entered by Old Harkers Arms.
The crew were accompanied by a Mr Whoppit, Campbell’s teddy bear mascot and sole survivor of the tragedy to whom the raft was dedicated. Gina Campbell, Donald’s daughter, had sent the crew a good luck message before the race.
Local electricity provider SP Energy Networks, one of the race sponsors, entered nine teams into the race with one team paddling hard to win third place.
District general manager for SP Energy Networks Jane Wilkie said: “We had a brilliant day at the Chester Raft Race and it was great to see one of the SP Energy Networks teams sail into third place.
“The race is a chance for us to raise money for great causes affecting the community in Chester and the surrounding areas. We’d like to thank the Rotary Club of Chester for hosting this event and our teams for embracing the chilly River Dee!”
Staff and regulars from Bar Number 15 entered a raft to raise funds for the Hospice of the Good Shepherd in memory of Jacqeline Jones.
Prizes were presented by the Lord Mayor of Chester Cllr Razia Daniels and other guests of Rotary including Chris Matheson MP and Beryl Cotton Rotary District 1180 Governor.
Grateful thanks are due to main sponsors Survitec, well known manufacturers of marine, defence and aerospace survival equipment. Also supporting the event were SP Energy Networks, Urenco Capenhurst, ASH Skips, The Old Harkers Arms and Hurst’s Bakery.
1st - Crocky Wok, captain, Luke Outhwaite, Crocky Trail
2nd - Traitors, captain, Carl Evans, Chester Auto Services
3rd - Scouse Biffas, captain, Andrew Lloyd, SP Energy Networks
1st Ladies - Viking Queens, captain, Kayley Dodd, Bagillt Allstars
1st Hostelry - Ye Olde Hickory’s, captain Graeme Mathews, Hickory’s Smokehouse
Best Theme Rafts - Top Trump, captain Rob Tucker, Peacock Garage; Mr Whoppit, captain, Mike Skinner, Old Harkers Arms.