Safety measures in place to avoid repeat of raft race injuries

A raft race from the past. This year's spectacular event takes place on Sunday, July 1. Photograph by James McCauley
A raft race from the past. This year's spectacular event takes place on Sunday, July 1. Photograph by James McCauley

Organisers of this year’s 43rd annual charity raft race from Lewes to Newhaven have sought to reassure would-be rafters of its safety, adding it is not too late to enter the event.

The Round Table say some would-be rafters have been put off by the incident last year when fireworks were thrown by a few in the crowds, injuring two rafters.

The race is the main event in the Ouseday regatta at Malling Rec, Lewes, on Sunday July 1.

Round Table chairman Liam Jackson, said: “We have had this concern raised by a few crews this year, but we can reassure people.

“We have consulted with the police and safety authorities and as a result have taken a range of measures to protect rafters. This includes a complete ban on fireworks.

“We do not condone any missiles, although we appreciate it has been traditional to throw raw eggs.

“We will have extra stewards and anyone putting rafters at any risk is liable to be tackled and may be prosecuted. CCTV will be in operation.

“The vast majority simply want to enjoy Ouseday in safety. If you would like to enter a raft and support local charities, then get in touch and we can go through any concerns you may have. The theme is Rock the Boat.

“So far we have around 18 rafts, and most of them have done it before - some described last year’s race as the best event in their entire lives. We can manage a few more rafts, so get in touch.”

Police will also be supporting the event, which is sponsored by Oakley Property for the second year running. Enter via the website Ouseday.com or request an entry pack by email to Liam at : lewesraftrace@gmail.com