Sheffield raft race ‘could be cancelled’ unless more people sign up

Kelham Island Annual Raft Regatta 2015
Kelham Island Annual Raft Regatta 2015
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Organisers of a fundraising Sheffield river race are desperate for entrants to this year’s event.

The 2016 Kelham Island Annual Raft Regatta takes place in less than two weeks, but so far not many have signed up. Sheffield City Kayak Club, which organises the event, says it will have to be cancelled if numbers to not increase by the time registration closes.

Kelham Island Annual Raft Regatta 2015

Kelham Island Annual Raft Regatta 2015

The race is held to raise money for the club, and entrants are encouraged to collect their own sponsorship for a cause of their choice as well.

The event has traditionally been great fun for all involved, with participants making plenty of effort to dress up in all sorts of costumes and plenty going on alongside the river for spectators to enjoy.

In previous years businesses, clubs, community groups and charities have taken to the water, helping to raise hundreds of pounds for the club and good causes.

But organiser Tony Canning said the race seemed to have ‘lost momentum’ in the last year.

Kelham Island Annual Raft Regatta 2015

Kelham Island Annual Raft Regatta 2015

“The race is great fun and raises valuable funds for the club, but at the moment there’s a real risk it won’t happen,” he added. “If anyone would like to take part, please register as soon as possible.”

This year’s event takes place on Saturday, September 3. The race begins at 11am above Ball Bridge in Neepsend, and finishes downstream at Nursery Street. In a twist on traditional rules, the winner is the raft that crosses the finish line third, rather than first.

“It’s not as easy as you would think,” said Tony.

Spectators are invited to make things more difficult for the teams by throwing flour - in paper bags only - at the rafts. Pre-filled bags will be on sale at five for £1 along the Upper Don Walk.

Kelham Island Annual Raft Regatta 2015

Kelham Island Annual Raft Regatta 2015

Alongside the winner’s trophy, there are prizes for the best-dressed raft and most flour-covered crew.

Entrants can either build their own raft, supplying paddles and buoyancy aids, for an entry fee of £25, or hire a raft from the organisers with paddles and buoyancy aids for £70.

The race is a recreation of an old student-run event, which first returned in 2012. It was a great success, and even more teams took part the following year.

In 2014 the river was polluted by a chemical spillage, so the race did not take place. It came back last year, but numbers were down.

Kelham Island Annual Raft Regatta 2015

Kelham Island Annual Raft Regatta 2015

If you would like to enter this year’s Kelham Island Annual Raft Regatta, download an entry form at www.facebook.com/groups/Sheffieldraftrace.

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Kelham Island Annual Raft Regatta 2015

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Kelham Island Annual Raft Regatta 2015

Kelham Island Annual Raft Regatta 2015