The Deeping Raft Race.

August 5th. Captain Jack and St George’s Dragon Survive to fight again.

As previously reported, an intrepid Vivacity team entered a raft in the 2018 Deepings Raft Race in support of the fundraising effort to obtain a new hoist at St George’s Hydrotherapy Pool.  The hydrotherapy pool is one of the latest additions to the range of facilities now managed by Vivacity – and the Friends of the Lido Committee have undertaken to support this “sister” organisation wherever possible.

TWO MEMBERS of the Friends’ Committee, together with a personal friend and a number of Vivacity’s lifeguarding team, volunteered to attend the day’s events as volunteer bucket collectors and to help man the bottle tombola.

Janet, Irene and Jacky about to commence their bucket collection.

ALTHOUGH A MAGNIFICENT £398 was made on the bottle tombola, it is not yet known how much was made on the bucket collection, as all monies collected are to be pooled between a number of different charities represented on the day.  And it has to be said that we were probably not the most successful bucket collectors; despite the announcer at the riverbank helpfully plugging the presence of the “purple ladies”, we were not very experienced at exacting donations from the gathered crowd; at one point, we were even pronounced us to be the most timid money collectors ever seen!  

BUT TO THE REAL EVENT of the day, which consisted of the main race, children’s race, and fun race – throughout which, as is apparently par for the course, spectators regularly aim their water pistols at passing raft-goers … in return for which, the raft occupants themselves use a variety of cleverly constructed oars to try and deposit as much of the river upon the spectators as possible.  On a day as hot as this, we were all extremely grateful for that tradition and happy to be showered with river water!

THE VIVACITY RAFT had been entered into the “Fun Race” category:  And in keeping with the 2018 theme of “Heroes and Villains,” they had chosen, fittingly, to enter Captain Jack and St George’s Dragon into the fray.  Cameras a-ready, the “purple ladies” waited, and waited … and waited!  Eventually … is it them? … Maybe! … Yes! … There they are!  And – in the fullness of time – a very, very sad and bedraggled dragon came into view.  The raft had apparently turned turtle after one minute’s sailing (not the only one to have done so, it has to be said) and so were struggling from the very beginning of the race!  By the time they approached the spectator bank, Becci had taken to the water to push the raft from behind, and Steven to lead the raft pulling from the front.  Captain Jack, meanwhile, remain aloft, paddling defiantly against the tremendous odds that now befell the struggling contraption.  And, still, in that formation, they eventually succeeded in passing the finish line, if not exactly in victory, then certainly in the triumphant spirit that is the Deepings Raft Race.

Captain Jack rows defiantly on, with Becci pushing and Steven pulling, the beleaguered St George’s Dragon raft.

WELL DONE to the Vivacity team for their enthusiasm and ingenuity in building and sailing St George’s Dragon.  They may not have won the race, but they certainly made up for that in terms of entertainment value, and can hold their heads – and the flag of St George – up high!

Karen Oldale, the inspiration behind the St George’s supporters’ team, has promised to keep us informed of the total monies raised, however, together with other fundraising initiatives it is believed they now have sufficient funds to purchase the much-need hoist for the users of St George’s Hydrotherapy Pool.

Report and Photos by Janet Martin

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