Look Ouse back - the return of the Lewes to Newhaven Raft Race

Lewes Raft Race action'PICTURE BY JIM HOLDEN 07590 683036
Lewes Raft Race action'PICTURE BY JIM HOLDEN 07590 683036

The traditional Lewes to Newhaven Raft Race is back with a bang this summer after last year’s event was unfortunately cancelled at the last minute because of logistical problems.

A long-established favourite on the local calendar, it will take place on Sunday, July 21.

Organiser Lewes Round Table is inviting local companies, groups and organisations to sample the delights of messing about on the river and raise money for good causes.

Just get together a team (two to 12 people) and build a raft which will, hopefully, last the seven-mile course down the River Ouse from Lewes Rowing Club to Newhaven.

The theme for this year’s race is ‘Music’. Organisers hope participants will decorate themselves and their craft to create a colourful spectacle for the crowds that line the banks.

You could dress up as your favourite band, or design your raft as an iconic music venue – or even a musical instrument. The cost of entry is only £95 per raft.

There are various prizes, including fastest time, most devious means and best-decorated raft.

Now in its 37th year, the race has raised more than £500,000 for local causes and is free to watch.

Spectators and participants can expect some underhand tactics such as flour bombs, water canons and eggs, as the rafts complete the course along the River Ouse in about an hour and a half.

Lewes Round Table Chairman Matthew Reeve has thanked Newhaven Marina for sponsoring this year’s event and for the use of their slipway.

The organisation would like to hear from other local businesses who may be able to offer sponsorship to offset the costs of staging the event.

Matthew said: “We are hoping that the musical theme will encourage plenty of teams to enter this year and enable Lewes Round Table to continuue to support local causes.

“We would especially welcome new groups so if you haven’t done it before now is the time.”

Competing in the raft race will enable people to raise money for their school, college, club or charity.

If you want to be part of the fun, download an application form and copy of the rules at www.lewesroundtable.co.uk or contact Raft Race Co-ordinator Matt Craig on 07796 938183; email lewesraftrace@gmail.com