The 45th annual Chester raft race took place on Sunday continuing the tradition that began in 1975. The race was the first since 2019 after the cancelation of the 2020 and 2021 races due to the Covid pandemic. Sponsored by Salt Town contractors, the volunteers from Chester Grosvenor Round Table took over management of this years event from previous long term organisers the Rotary Club. The event charity for 2022 was the Countess of Chester Hospital Blue Sky’s Appeal- fundraising for an outdoor garden balcony at the hospitals’ Intensive Care Unit.
The race was dedicated to the memory of fly boarder Jay St John who died on the 23rd June. Jay had been a memorable part of recent raft races as he rose over the Dee on jets of water. A memorial/ fundraising page for Jay has been set up by his family https://jay007stjohn.muchloved.com/?fbclid=IwAR1aSF8iHyqeW24mCKE7ehhBDvBzlWg2CX_6wzPAfjXLhAap7aLPtoEkPvA
This year 23 rafts took place with the theme “100 years of British Television” with Little Britain, Father Ted, Only Fools and Horses, Benidorm and Blue Peter being represented on the river Dee.
Prize giving took place on the Meadows with Owen Thomas, chair of the Round Table and Lord Major Leather. Best themed raft / fastest hostelry award went to Harker’s Arms Magic Roundabout themed raft.
The fastest ladies’ raft went to BOST musicals, the runner up was Valley Lodge Nursing Home. The Titanic ultimate sinkers award went to Alan Sproston. Fastest raft overall went to the team from the Crocky Trail, with the runners up award going to Chester Auto services.
A spokesperson for the Round Table commented “It was great to finally be back on the river! Huge congratulations to the 2022 winners. . Great to see our rafts embrace the ‘100 Years of British Television theme’. Thank you to everyone who entered a raft today. This years sponsors Salt Town Contractors Ltd allowed us to return for 2022. We are delighted they shared the day with us, and continue to support the Raft Race.
Thank you to the Rotary Club of Chester for all the guidance along the way. CWaC Council for being big supporters and working with us to bring the Raft Race back for 2022.
Many great vendors and entertainment could be found on the Meadows and it was refreshing to finally see the atmosphere return the city. We hope that every single person left the event with a smile on their face and will be pencilling us in again for next year.
We will learn from this years event and review for Raft Race 2023 but for our first Round Table event we were proud of our teams, vendors, our supporters and grateful to receive a lot of positive feedback.”