Raft race 'biggest fundraiser so far'
By Steve Peacock - Totnes Times 28th December 2016
TOTNES Raft Race has made the biggest charity splash so far.
The event raised a huge £13,000 for various charities this year - the biggest amount the 14km River Dart challenge has netted since it was resurrected by the Rotary Club of Totnes five years ago.
Rotarians said thank you to all the raft racers who took part and all the organisations that were involved in
keeping it afloat at a presentation event at the Royal Seven Stars Hotel in Totnes.
Rotary raft race spokesman Geoffrey Hyde pointed out that this year 46 teams took part, with around 270 paddlers involved.
Last year, the event raised £11,000, while the first resurrected race brought in around £6,000 or £7,000, said Mr Hyde.
This year the Rotary charities benefitting from the river spectacle are the Devon Air Ambulance Trust, Children's Hospice South West, Totnes Caring, the Chernobyl Children's Lifeline and the Totnes Hospital League of Friends.
Mr Hyde added: 'But don't let us forget the vital support the race received from local organisations without whom the race can¬not be run: Totnes Canoe Club, Totnes Sub-Aqua Club, Dart Totnes Amateur Rowing Club, Totnes Boating Association, Totnes Sea Scouts, Dart Sailability, Raynet, the Dart Harbour Authority, KJT Group and St John's Ambulance.
'In addition, we had great support from friends of Rotary, who acted as marshals along the river to guide the teams as they slogged it out along the 14km from Buckfastleigh to Totnes.
'Finally, what was gratifying was the huge support we got from Totnesians and visiting folk from as far
away as Hampshire, Falmouth, Somerset, Dorset and North Devon, who all gave their support for the race by crowding the banks of the river and coming to our finish event on Vire Island, where they could keep track of the progress of rafts along the course, while enjoying the various stalls and food offerings that helped make it a great day out for all the family.'
The two teams that clocked up the biggest amount of sponsorship money - £2,500 between them - were the For Pete's Sake teams one and two.
The prize for the fastest crew of seven and eight, which was also the first raft to cross the Totnes, finish line, went to the Tuckers Arms Raft Club in a time of two hours and 20 minutes.
The Dad (B)army team, dressed as the Dad's Army TV characters, took a little bit longer, coming home in six hours and eight minutes. But they did win the fancy dress competition.
The fastest two-man raft was the Church House Inn team from Rattery, who completed the gruelling event in two hours and 43 minutes.
The fastest crew of three and four went to Team Slug in three hours and six minutes. The fastest crew of five and six went to Floating Seamen in two hours and 48 minutes, while the fastest all-female crew of three and four was the ' Jolly Jellyfish in three hours and 13 minutes.
Meanwhile, Ron's Rings won the prizes for the fastest raft and the fastest all-female crew of 10 with a time of four hours and one minute.
Mr Hyde said that next year's race is being run on Sunday, October 1.
He added: 'It's a little earlier than in previous years, so we're hoping for good weather, similar to this year's race day which was graced with warm sunshine and I'm told even the river water temperature was refreshing.