Bumper crowd for Deepings Raft Race - gallery

Action from the Deeping Raft Race 2014 EMN-140308-201215009
Action from the Deeping Raft Race 2014 EMN-140308-201215009
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Organisers of the Deepings Raft Race celebrated a bumper event this year with teams watched by record crowds.

Thousands lined the banks of the River Welland on Sunday (3 August) to watch more than 30 teams take to the water in their homemade vessels.

Businesses, sports teams, clubs and pubs had spent weeks creating their crafts in the hope they would stay afloat for the full course.

This year’s theme was rock ‘n’ roll, and plenty of teams and spectators dressed up appropriately.

Organising committee member Andy Pelling said: “I have been going as a member of the public for more than 20 years and I think this was the biggest crowd I have ever seen.

“Because it’s an open area we can’t count the numbers. But we think it might be a record turnout.”

Teams took part in five categories: the main race, ladies race, youth race, pub race and fun race. The fastest in the main race were Interlink Express, who completed the route through Market Deeping and Deeping St James in 16m45s.

Winners of the ladies race were French Fancies in 22m14s, while The Stage team took first place in the pub race in 12m21s. The fun race was won by Baker Perkins T Birds, who beat 14 other teams to finish in 15m57s. And even though they were the only entry in the youth race, Deeping Youth Centre finished in 18m56s.

This year organisers made extra effort to involve spectators, developing a version of the website for smartphones. People were able to vote for the best raft while the race was underway. That award went to the Pirate Radio team.

In an attempt to boost the crowds this year, organisers added extra entertainment during the day. Mr Pelling said: “We tried to put on more stalls and activities. We had zorbing balls on the river and a play bus for the children.”

Mr Pelling encouraged people to start thinking of ideas for next year.

A final total is still being calculated, but money raised will go towards Great Ormond Street Hospital, the Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals Trust and Parkinsonss UK.