We’re telling you about this one nice and early as it’s one of those events where you need to rally the troops and make a few plans for what you’ll be doing for the day itself. We are talking the MONMOUTH RAFT RACE.
Unfortunately, and for obvious reasons, this years race had to be cancelled. The organisers said…..
We have taken the decision to cancel very reluctantly, after assessing the difficulties of managing the social distancing restrictions. The principal issues are……..
- Crews on rafts can’t socially distance
- Raft parking areas, at both start and finish, become very crowded with crews, supporters and spectators
- Our event stewards frequently have to work in close proximity with each other, and with raft crews
The event attracts several thousand spectators who mill around at the start and finish, as well as crowding onto the bridges. Something we cannot control.We considered postponing the decision to cancel until nearer the event, but our assessment is that social distancing restrictions, and the subsequent ban on crowds gathering for events, will still be in place in September.A delayed decision would be unfair on raft crews who would have spent time building rafts, making travel arrangements, booking accommodation, and raising sponsorship.
The cancellation of the raft race represents a big hole in the Club fundraising activities, and we deeply regret the loss of funds that we would have raised for St David’s Hospice Care. We’ll focus on making the 2021 raft race bigger and better than ever.
Incredibly, this will be the 55th annual race (organised by the Rotary Club of Monmouth) although originally it was founded by the Abergavenny Young Conservatives, and for very many years run by the Monmouth Conservative Association. The Rotary Club of Monmouth took over the oars in 2003.
Originally it was intended to hold the first raft race on the River Usk. However they were advised that this was too dangerous. It was moved to the River Monnow, with the start at the Bell at Skenfrith and a finish at Monmouth. The Abergavenny Round Table decided to enter a raft, and in total there were 23. The Monnow was not the most suitable venue and there are no records of the winners and where or if they finished. However about £35 was raised and donated to the Freedom from Hunger Campaign
The 1966 race was moved to the River Wye with the start near Symonds Yat and finish at Monmouth Boathouse. By 1968 over £400 was raised for Tenovus and sponsorship of the rafts started, the first being Whiteheads Iron and Steel of Newport with catering by the local pub The Crown.
Here’s a look back at the 2013 Race……
Charities supported over the years include Multiple Sclerosis Society, RNLI, Guide Dogs for the Blind, and currently St David’s Hospice Care. They are such a good charity to work with that they have been chosen again to be major beneficiaries of the 2021 race. They provide care and support, free of charge, to patients who have been diagnosed with a life threatening illness.
The raft race has only ever failed to take place three times. Once at the time of the foot and mouth epidemic in 2001. Once in 2008 when the river was in flood. And now because of a worldwide pandemic.
As you can see from the pictures, it’s a really fun afternoon on the river.
It usually starts at Noon at Monmouth Rowing Club (Just off the A40 at Monmouth) and is paddled over 6.5 miles down the beautiful River Wye to the finish at Tump Farm, Whitebrook, where there is a Family Festival of entertainment and ample refreshment opportunities.
The MONMOUTH RAFT RACE is scheduled to return on Sunday 5th September 2021, from 12noon to 4pm. Although no pricing is published as yet, it’s usually between £43.71 – £81.44. It all happens around Monmouth Rowing Club on Old Dixton Road. For details and to sign up, when it’s available, go here. RAFT