Gallery: Fun in the sun for raft race crews

CROWDS as far as the eye could see lined the banks of Needham Lake for the ninth annual raft races.

They were rewarded by the largest-ever turnout in the contest’s history for what was an afternoon of fun in the sun.

Jean Pittaway, one of the organisers of the event, said: “On a fun scale of one to ten, it was least 11. This is about people enjoying themselves and getting together.

“We had 21 rafts, which was more than ever. The biggest number before was 16.

“We probably had the biggest crowd we have ever had. The edges of the lake were covered just about as far as the eye could see.

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“I would guess there were possibly 2,000 people, if not more. It was a big, big crowd.”

The teams of four rafters competed in various heats throughout yesterday afternoon.

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Many were from businesses or organisations, but there were others who entered as friends or family.

Although most turned up just for the sheer thrill of the racing, at least three were raising money for charities, which are said to have benefited by around �1,300.

Among those who competed in the short circuits round the lake were teams from Needham Market, Stowmarket and Ipswich.

At the end of two and a half hours’ racing it was one of the stalwarts of the competition, Cattermoles motor dealers from Ipswich, who emerged victorious.

However, as ever, the event was really a triumph for the whole community.

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