Raft race 'biggest fundraiser so far'

By Steve Peacock - Totnes Times 16th December 2017

Totnes' annual raft race battle has
clocked up another fundraising
record.
This year's race down the River
Dart to Totnes was already celebrating
a record as more than 300
rafters on board 51 rafts took part -
the highest number since the town’s
Rotarians revived the event six
years ago.
Now organisers have revealed
that this year's raft race raised more
than £16,000 - of which just under
£12,000 went direct to Rotary Club
charities.
This year, Rotary cash will be
shared between Rowcroft Hospice,
Devon Air Ambulance, Totnes
Caring, the Chernobyl Children's
Life Line and the Children’s
Hospice South West.
Meanwhile, raft racers have been
stepping up to receive their awards
for clocking up the fastest times
down the 13km course, which went
to a two-man crew called the Skip
Surfers from Bristol, who completed
the course in one hour and 25
minutes.
The best fancy dress award went
to another two-man crew, calling
themselves Indians, from
Plymouth while the special award
for initiative went to the crew on
Sink or Swim from Kingsbridge.
The award for the highest
amount raised for the Rotary charities,
amounting to f1,500, went to
For Pete's Sake from Burnham-on-
Sea, while highest amount raised
overall, of f2,754, went to the
Southern Timberettes and Southern
Timber Wolves from Ipplepen.
The presentations were made at
the Royal Seven Stars Hotel in
Totnes by Rotary Club president
Stephen Evans.
Raft race spokesman Geoffrey
Hyde explained that the event
raised cash for Rotary Club charities,
while the individual teams
"piggy backed" on the event to
raise cash for their own designated
charities. Since the event was
revived n2012, the total amount of
cash raised each year has quadrupled
from £4,000 in 2012 to more
than £16,000 this year.
"As a charity fundraising event
is really becoming quite a significant
affair," he said.
Mr Hyde also pointed out that
teams were now coming from as far
afield as Bristol, Exmoor, Burnham-on-
Sea in Somerset and Exminster.
"It's beginning to get a real'
regional feel to the event and that's
exactly what we want," he added.
Of the presentation evening, he
said: "We had a great turnout for
our Awards Evening. Some 70 plus
folk attended, including a number
of the winning crews who received
their awards from Totnes Rotary
President Stephen Evans.
"We also had a number of the
Support teams there, including
Totnes Sub-Aqua Club, Totnes
Canoe Club, Totnes Sea Scouts,
Raynet, and Dart Sailability, who
all received recognition for their
support.
"These can often go unrecognised
for the work they do on race
day making sure that the raft teams
are supported as and when needed.
The race couldn't go ahead without
them all."
Mr Hyde also thanked the
Sharpham cheese and wine business,
which sponsored some of the
awards, and the Dartington-based
Fishtek which also weighed in with
sponsorship