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.
Incredibly, it’s 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 2020 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 twice. Once at the time of the foot and mouth epidemic in 2001 and once in 2008 when the river was in flood. As you can see from the pictures, it’s a really fun afternoon on the river.
It 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 on Sunday 6th September from 12noon to 4pm. The cost is between £43.71 – £81.44. It all happens around Monmouth Rowing Club on Old Dixton Road. For details and to sign up, go here. RAFT