Get ready for Raft Race mayhem this weekend

Rye Raft Race'17.07.11.'Picture by: TONY COOMBES PHOTOGRAPHY
Rye Raft Race'17.07.11.'Picture by: TONY COOMBES PHOTOGRAPHY

THOUSANDS of people are set to line the banks of the Rother on Sunday when the 34th Annual Rye Raft Race takes place.

There will be madness and mayhem on the water as a number of improvised craft, crewed by teams, fight to be first across the finishing line after sailing through a barrage of flour bombs and water jets.

The Raft Race, organised by Rye and District Lions, has raised thousands of pounds for local good causes and charities.

It is the biggest fund-raising event of the year for Rye Lions.

As well as the raft race, there will be the usual big fete on the Salts with dozens of stalls, live music and family entertainment.

The Fete starts on The Salts at noon and again this year the Lions have a full house of over 50 stalls and rides, including a barbecue, beer tent, bouncy castle, ice-creams, and many other attractions.

The fete also provides a good platform for local charities.

Conrad Freezer, from Rye Lions, said: “There has been lots of interest from rafters this year and it shpould be a fantastic afternoon.

“This fete has proved so popular with stall holders that the Lions have had to put up a “full house” sign and unfortunately not accept several late requests for space.”

The Raft Race starts at 2pm, with rafts assembling from 12.30am.

The course is the same as the last few year, starting adjacent to the fishermen’s quay and up to the road bridge and back for three laps.

There is ample room for spectators on the banks of the Rother on the Camber side and also on the quay. 

Whilst the Lions are quite happy with the crews and spectators bombarding the crews with flour and water bombs, there is a strict ban on anything heavier, such as eggs and fruit, which could cause serious injury.

There will be ample parking on the field over the river bridge, on the Camber side of the Rother for £2, which includes a complementary copy of the 74 page programme, normally £1.

Entry to both the Fete and the Race is free, but the Lions will be collecting as usual and as always all money raised will go to charities, many local, with no administration deductions. 

Copies of the £1 programme will also be on sale.

At 3.30pm the winners of each of the six raft classes will be presented with silver trophies by Rye MP, Amber Rudd, and Rye’s Mayor Shaun Rogers.  Every surviving rafter will also be presented with a certificate.