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Deepings Raft Race confirmed for August 2024 with children’s TV theme after new volunteers save the day





A popular community event which was in danger of sinking this year has been saved after volunteers answered a call for help.

Organisers of the Deepings Raft Race feared the 2024 event would have to be cancelled, or miss out Market Deeping on a shorter course, due to a shortage of committee members and helpers.

Some long-serving committee members and volunteers decided to stand down, while others are taking a year’s break to recharge.

The Deepings Raft Race
The Deepings Raft Race

But an appeal for support launched last November has proved such a success that a full-size race will run once more on Sunday, August 4, from Deeping St James to its traditional Market Deeping finish.

“It’s been great – we’ve had probably 15 new committee members turn up,” said Michelle Bateman, who has been involved with the race for eight years and a committee member since 2019.

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“The problem sometimes is that when you are involved for a long time, sometimes you need new people to come in and give the event a boost and some new ideas.”

Deepings Raft Race's refreshed committee launch the next edition in the popular fundraiser
Deepings Raft Race's refreshed committee launch the next edition in the popular fundraiser

One of the new recruits is helping to revamp the event website at deepings.co.uk/raftrace which is open for entries for this year’s race which will have a children’s television theme.

“When you decide on a theme you have to think how easy it’s going to be to make a raft for,” Michelle said

“But kids TV is a massive umbrella of things to pick from.

Last year’s race attracted more than 3,000 spectators
Last year’s race attracted more than 3,000 spectators

“People put so much thought into their rafts and their costumes and it all goes to make it such a fun day.”

She added: “I’ve lived in Deeping since 1974 and Covid was the first year I had ever known there not to be a race. As a teenager it was certainly the event to go to every year!”

The event, which has run regularly since its debut around 50 years ago, has raised £50,000 for charity and good causes in the last 10 years.

The Deepings Raft Race
The Deepings Raft Race

Last year’s event attracted 30 teams and pulled in between 3,000 and 4,000 spectators, helping many Deeping businesses enjoy their busiest trading day of the year, particularly pubs and cafes.

Yet as a free-to-watch event, the organisers rely on donations, stall hire and sponsorship to cover the annual costs of putting on the event, estimated at almost £5,000.

They have applied for funding from the South Kesteven District Council lottery and set up a Gofundme page to help boost their coffers and keep the race afloat for years to come.

Deepings Tennis Club’s entry for last year’s raft race
Deepings Tennis Club’s entry for last year’s raft race

“We are trying new angles for fundraisers to recoup what we have lost from last year,” Michelle explained.

“We used to sell brochures to raise some money but last year we didn’t sell one, and we had £80 from bucket collections..

“There are thousands of people on the day and if everyone chipped in a quid that would really help.”



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