Deepings Raft Race is saved for 2011 thanks to Rotary

From left, Deepings Rotary Club president Ricky Fox, Carole Hughes and Kevin Barber
From left, Deepings Rotary Club president Ricky Fox, Carole Hughes and Kevin Barber

A POPULAR raft race could have been sunk if a community group had not stepped in to take over the organisation.

The Rotary Club of the Deepings has taken over the organisation of Deepings Raft Race after members of the previous committee stepped down.

There has been uncertainty over the race for a number of years and it was cancelled in 2008 due to complaints about noise, traffic disruption and management concerns. It returned in 2009 after a campaign and online petition.

Last year the committee said it was struggling to raise funds to pay for the policing and licensing of the event.

The event cost £10,000 to stage last year and the Rotary club hopes to cut that to £6,000 this year.

With help from previous committee members, the Rotary club is hoping to attract more teams and will also be running an under 16s race at this year’s event on Sunday, August 7.

Organisers will also be raising money for Stamford-based charity Anna’s Hope and are urging groups in the area to enter a raft.

Rotarian Kevin Barber, of King Street, West Deeping, is the new committee chairman.

He said: “We are excited as it is one of the three big events in The Deepings after Deepings Show in June and the carnival in July.

“It was in danger of being lost if the Rotary had not taken it on.

“Rotarians as local business people see the event as being good for the area and attracting 5,000 people on the day. It is a large family event and the day is so good and people look forward to it.”

The Rotary is hoping to increase the number of floats competing in the races to about 75 from last year’s 49 entries.

Mythical creatures is the theme of this year’s event, which will start at midday.

The committee is hoping the event will have stalls and members of Deepings Rugby Club will also be helping out on the day by lifting rafts out of the water when competitors get to High Locks.

Rotarians will be marshalling the event and staff at Tallington Lakes will also be taking part.

The committee is also approaching schools in a bid to attract raft entries from pupils.

Entry is £5 per person but the competitors could be given back their entry fee providing they raise £50 for charity.

A raft race dance will be held on Friday, August 5.

Mr Barber is pleased to be supporting Anna’s Hope, a charity formed by Rob and Carole Hughes in memory of their daughter Anna. The charity helps to provide care for children with brain tumours as well as funding research.

For more information go to www.deepingsraftrace.co.uk