Video: Everything is sweet at Lewes Raft Race

Team Brewers on ‘Drifter’ had sweet success over... ‘Sweet Success’ crewed by Intersport, Lewes, at Sunday’s confectionary themed Lewes Raft Race.

Organiser Matt Craig deemed the Lewes and District Round Table annual event a ‘great success’ and said there was a ‘fantastic turnout of spectators, no doubt helped by the weather’.

Lewes to Newhaven raft race 2014

Lewes to Newhaven raft race 2014

“All six rafts that set off completed the course and I’m pleased to say there were no major incidents or sunk crafts, but plenty of fun,” he said.

“With only six rafts there was plenty of eggs, flour and other disgusting stuff to go around!”

Best Dressed was won by The Willy Wonkas (Darron Rigby & Friends), with some very fetching Umpah Lumpas.

East Hoathly & Little Horsted Bonfire Socity won by the Most Devious Means as they managed to smuggle a motorised water pump past the raft scrutineers (good for dousing the crowd and clearing the bridge).

A new award this year was Best Named Raft - awarded to young Tom Clark and his crew in Kit-Kat-amaran.

Matt said: “Kit-Kat-amaran deserve a special mention for their heroic effort - first time we’ve had such a small (four), young (age 14) crew enter and complete the course. The crowd were enthusiastically supporting them and really ‘egging them on’.

“Despite the pre-race rhetoric and banter on social media between Intersport and Brewers, Team Intersport’s raft unfortunately didn’t live up to its name (Sweet Success) but did very well to come second. However, no prizes for coming second as they say.

“One 11th hour unofficial entry (The Nomads), who were unable to meet the entry requirements, made their own launch arrangements up river and completed the course anyway.

“I estimate the event raised approximately £500, to go towards local Round Table nominated good causes and charities, with around a further £4,500 raised by the individual rafts themselves for their own good causes.

“Brewers deserve a mention for their amazing fundraising effort in aid of Rocking Horse appeal, understood to be in excess of £3,000, as well as coming first place.

“With the effort and time that goes into staging such an event it would be great to see more rafts enter next year for our 40th anniversary of the event. Interested parties should register their interest early:”

Charities supported include Water Aid, Rocking Horse Appeal (2 rafts), Hope in the Valley, Teenage Cancer Trust.

Lewes and District Round Table thanked for their support: Tim Harry and his crew of of Sea Training Sussex, Waitrose, Knill James, chartered accountants, previous Round Tabler, Graham Tilbury of GTD Developments Ltd, and The Forge (free house) at Halland, Darren Bradley, of Bradley Property Management, John Stirling, of Newhaven Marina, Lewes Rowing Club and St John’s Ambulance.

“With ever increasing costs, we are keen to secure a main sponsor in good time before the 2015 event, in order to ensure that more of the money we raise goes to good causes,” said Matt.

Finally - Thank you Sussex Express for helping us with publicity this year. I attach a PDF of the programme in case you have not seen it, complete with your logo! If you able to send us some photos or put them up on your web page, I’d be happy to put a link to Sussex Express on our website.

Thanks to SJA for providing medical cover for the event, though thankfully no first aid was required.

2014 Results

1st Place - Team Brewers - “Drifter” - 1 hrs 52 mins

2nd Place - Intersport, Lewes - “Sweet Success” - 2 hrs 8 mins

3rd Place - The Willy Wonkas - “Chocolate Factory” - 2 hrs 13 mins

4th Place - Chris Hatcher & Son - “The Lady Loves” - 2 hrs 18 mins

5th Place - Tom Clark & Crew - “Kit-Kat-Amaran” - 2 hrs 22 mins

6th Place - Isfield & Little Horsted - “Yellow Peril” - 2 hrs 39 mins


Fastest Time - Team Brewers

Best Dressed / Decorated - Willy Wonka’s

Best Named Raft - Tom Clark & Crew - “Kit-Kat-Amaran”

Most Devious Means - Isfield & Little Horstead Bonfire Society

For some great pictures and a taste of what it was like please visit:

These images are courtesy of Alex Harrison.

All original photos are available in high resolution - for a small donation to Alex’s chosen charity - Wateraid. Please contact Alex Harrison directly on 07983 415 784 or


We will be celebrating 40 years of the raft race in 2015. If you would like to be added to the mailing list for early details of next year’s event please contact us via: or call the event organiser, Matt Craig on 01273 813093

Dampening down your fire

About the event

This long established event was first staged by Lewes & District Round Table in 1975 and has raised in excess of £500,000 for local good causes. Teams of between 3 and 12 people build and decorate their own raft according to the chosen annual theme and navigate the stretch of the river Ouse between Lewes and Newhaven Marina. Participants are asked to obtain sponsorship to raise funds for their chosen good cause or organisation. Alternatively crews can donate their proceeds to Lewes Round Table, who will then distribute funds to nominated local charities and to other good causes in the district based upon applications for funding received. Prizes are awarded for “Fastest Time”, “Most Devious Means” and “Best Decorated”.

Bandits at 12 o/c

The 2014 Race - Sunday 7th September 2014

The theme this year is ‘Confectionery’ with teams getting into the spirit of things by decorating themselves and their rafts to reflect this. Due to a lower than anticipated number of entries received to date for the original date, the race has been postponed this year until Sunday 7th September 2014 to allow more time for crews to prepare their crafts. By staging it outside of the school holidays we hope that a larger number of people will be available to enter, refreshed and revitalised from their summer breaks!!

Last minute entries are still being taken. Contact the organiser, Matt Craig on 01273 813093 or if interested in entering. If you still feel you have “missed the boat” this year, please let us have your contact details so we can keep you informed of plans for next year.