Matlock Bath Parish Council

Caring for the local community

Matlock Bath Parish Council

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Raft Event 2013

The object of the annual Raft Event is to raise monies for our four beneficiaries RLNI, Air Ambulance, Hyperbaric Unit and St John. This year we were hoping the River would be a little kinder to us than last year's near flood condition.

As December loomed we did the usual pre event checks, looking for fallen trees or other obstacles, which could create problems on the day, but thankfully there was nothing at all. The week before Christmas we arrived at Cromford Meadows, in pouring rain to fix the scaffolding to protect the bank to make it easy for the Rafters to pull their creations out of the river. This became a joint effort with help from Matlock Rugby Club and Ripley Diving Club to whom we extend our grateful thanks. This year we did try to rig a boom across the river to catch any unwanted debris but we failed, due to the strong current at the time, we did however have a lot of fun in the making. We had numerous dunkings into the river before we gave it up as a bad idea; good job we were expert scuba divers with the proper gear on.

When Boxing Day dawned there was a frost, making the start roads in Cawdor Quarry a little on the slippery side, we opened up at something around 6.20am, pitch dark, very cold but the day looked quite promising. We set up the start Registration Point (just a simple Gazebo) with a generator for some well-needed light source. Before long the competitors started to arrive, as did the Marshals who travel from as far away as Loughborough, part of their job is to assist with launching the Rafts into the water, down the scaffolded river bank which is perhaps a 25 foot drop, what would we do with out them, thanks to all.

Before long we heralded the arrival of our celebrity judge for the Event; Councillor Michael Wilderspin, who mingles with the Rafters making his notes as he goes from Raft to Raft. I noticed this year that Michael's wit and humour was not lost on the competitors as they gave back as good as he gave out. What a fantastic ambassador he is to set the scene for great mornings punt down the river.

Then spot on time 10am, Michael blew the whistle to start the 51st Raft Event in motion. With a roar and a flourish of paddles the Rafts set off in a blaze of colour and in the hope that one would be lucky enough to win it. Our friends from the canoe world were in place on the river, to go down the course, acting the role of rescue boats should any rafter or member of the public get into trouble. Our grateful thanks go to these sportsmen and women who turn up every year and add to the carnival atmosphere, although the Rafters do drench them with water. The public had been arriving from 8.30am choosing their own particular vantage point along the route; Matlock, Matlock Bath to Cromford Meadows, thus turning a would be quiet peaceful Boxing Day into a normal Sunday in the middle of summer. We then put our efforts into counting the street collection at the Fish Ponds Pub, which raised almost £6,000 before Michael announced this year’s intrepid winner. Then all of a sudden the Raft Event 2013 was over – nice memories.

The winners this year were ‘The Gladiators’. They are the Littlemoor Farm Group from Riber, Matlock.

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Next Parish Council Meeting

Wednesday 21st March 2018 at 7.00 pm

at The New Bath Hotel
All Welcome
Click here to see Agenda

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