Days Gone By - Having a splashing time at Suffolk raft races through the years
The smiling faces in our gallery of raft race photos say it all.
It’s plain to see just how much fun has been had by crews and onlookers alike at raft races around Suffolk and north Essex over the decades.
Our photos include rafts of all kinds of designs, shapes and sizes taking to the water.
Thorpeness Meare was one of the most iconic locations, with an annual raft race which attracted teams from many local pubs.
The event was held for several years in the 1970s and 80s, with teams taking along their homemade craft.
As the 64-acre lake is shallow, it was no problem if anyone ended up in the water during the event.
Felixstowe’s raft race, between the pier and the Spa Pavilion, was also a very popular events, with large crowds turning out to line the shore.
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After our previous nostalgia gallery featuring Felixstowe raft race, reader Jane Kirk wrote in to say: “Quite by chance I had dug out some old family photos the day before.
“The photo I am sending you is of my daughter Clare Carver sitting on the raft of the British Telecom team from the Felixstowe Telephone Exchange (in the Buzby days) and was taken in 1981 when she was two years old.”
The Felixstowe Round Table event ended because of the high cost of insurance, but was later revived by the Lions Club.
READ MORE - Memories of Broomhill Pool in IpswichToday we are also featuring photos from other events including the Southwold, Butley, Eyke, Harwich and Bures raft races.
Needham Lake’s raft race is still going strong and is normally held each year.
As well as awards for the winners, there is a “tickle factor” prize for the team providing the most entertainment. Apparently, the entertainment generally involves falling in!
Sadly, this year’s race, which had been due to be held on June 28, had to be cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic, along with so many other events. It had been due to take the theme “Back to the 80s” - and our gallery includes a photo of the Needham race back in 1983, with large numbers of children taking part.