A COMICAL and action-packed spectacle is promised with the 38th annual Rotary Club of Chester Raft Race on the River Dee.
The event gets under way at 10am on Sunday at The Groves when about 40 teams will bid to clock the fastest time over a 400-metre stretch of water.
The race always provides amusement as spectators line the river bank to check out the weird and wonderful water craft.
This year there will also be a demonstration by Wirral ‘flyboarder’ Jay St John, who promises to dazzle the crowd with his water-powered jet boots. Rotary club members have chosen Cheshire Young Carers as their main beneficiary this year.
Brendan Witter, for the club, said: “We have nearly 40 entries from many varied and interesting rafts which with the added attraction of the special ‘flyboard’ appearance will provide a colourful and entertaining spectacle for the large crowds normally attracted to this fun event.
“There are prizes awarded for the crew with the fastest overall time, ladies and hostelry categories together with best interpretation of the race theme, which this year is ‘songs, nursery rhymes and limericks’. Anything goes.”
Craft will be launched from The Meadows for the start of the race at about 10.30am in groups of four. The 400m course takes the rafters under the suspension footbridge to the finishing point by the Recorder’s Steps just above the weir.
Among those battling it out for top honours are a crew of ladies who are friends and family from Flint and Holywell Rotary Club, in their Rod Stewart “Sailing” song themed raft, sponsored by the Druid Inn of Gorsedd.
Their captain, Theresa Sharp, and crew will be aiming to repeat last year’s success when they were the fastest ladies’ raft to finish.
Other participants include many well known names from the business and local community as well as a return entry from the Old Harkers Arms team, who have entertained the crowd in many previous years with their Lotus car, ski-jump and wagon train creations.
This year’s entry is the Yellow Submarine, skippered by Paul Jeffery and crew Mike Skinner, Aaron ‘Sid’ Allen, Samantha Rothery and Jenny Love.
Mr Witter added: “Spectators are encouraged to give generously to Cheshire Young Carers and other worthy causes supported by Chester Rotary through a bucket collection in the vicinity and by taking a programme listing the entrants.”
Parking is available on the meadows with a donation to the appeal and can be accessed via Lower Park Road, Queen’s Park, Chester.
Main sponsorship support is from Survitec Group, Birkenhead-based manufacturers of marine survival equipment, including Beaufort life jackets and liferafts.
See full story in the Leader