Messing about on the river in the Deepings Great British Raft off

Deeping Raft Race 2017. By Lee Hellwing.
Deeping Raft Race 2017. By Lee Hellwing.
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A quintessentially British Deepings Raft Race has been described as a big success by its organisers.

On Sunday, 31 teams took to the River Welland in their rafts which were themed around things that are typically British and the competitors were cheered on by a huge crowd.

The theme for this year’s annual event certainly encouraged teams, which were made up of two to eight people, to design all manner of wondrous craft, including one designed like Del Boy’s three-wheeled Reliant Regal van from Only Fools and Horses, while another looked like a tennis court.

This year’s event, entitled The Great British Raft Off, raised cash for Stamford-based charity The Evergreen Care Trust, which helps anyone who needs befriending or advocacy services and The Deepings Youth Group, an organisation supporting young people aged from 11 to 18 years by helping them to become involved in community projects and other local events.

To keep the crowds entertained, there was also a wide selection of stalls, a funfair, two bus bars, a treasure hunt and classic cars and bikes.

Andy Pelling, who commentated on the event and is one of the organisers, said: “I would like to thank all the businesses that got involved with sponsorship and the public for turning up and watching it.

“It was at least as successful, if not better, than the last three or four years.”

Andy said the teams who had entered this year had been very creative in their raft designs.

Although it is not yet known how much was raised for charity, Andy said he expects that it will be around £6,000 as that is the amount that has been fundraised through the event in the past few years.

Rafts set off in pairs during the event and Deepings Round Table completed the main race in the quickest time of 11:46.

Winners of the fun race were DNA Scaffolding The Gene Team which clocked in a time of 19:28, while the youth race winners were DSJ Royals who managed to complete the course in 8:35 - almost five minutes faster than second placed Deepings Rugby Club U13s.

Taking home the Bruce Tokens Memorial Race trophy was Tokens’ Tribute who managed a time of 19:19.

Best dressed raft award was given to The Brits, whose team members dressed as famous people throughout history such as Robin Hood.

Some of the sponsors to this year’s events included The Boundary and River Restaurant, which is based in Market Deeping and Garford Farm Machinery Ltd in Deeping St James.

Raft race winners

Main race: Deepings Round Table

Fun race: DNA Scaffolding The Gene Team

Best dressed raft: The Brits

Bruce Tokens memorial race: Tokens’ Tribute

Youth race: DSJ Royals

Ladies race: TBA

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