Get rafted at Aquafest

PUBLISHED: 10:36 29 June 2006 | UPDATED: 11:50 04 May 2010

Star Radio’s raft, built by Ely’s Standen Engineering. 
Photo: SUPPLIED

Star Radio's raft, built by Ely's Standen Engineering. Photo: SUPPLIED

AQUAFEST 2006 in Ely looks set to be the biggest yet, featuring live music and sports cars at the riverside alongside the raft races that make the event so popular. Sunday s (2) event will extend the entertainment to Lavender Green and Jubilee Gardens wit

ALL ABOARD: From left, Lesley Harrison, Stuart Rayner and Chelsea Fulcher.

AQUAFEST 2006 in Ely looks set to be the biggest yet, featuring live music and sports cars at the riverside alongside the raft races that make the event so popular.

Sunday's (2) event will extend the entertainment to Lavender Green and Jubilee Gardens with a packed programme, including performances from Ely's own Britney tribute show, Soham's Viva Youth Group, local rock heroes Error 404, The Garden Drama Group and the Feathers Dance Troupe.

And the Ely Standard has got together with Waitrose Ely to offer a fantastic prize to make the most of the day in the sunshine (see below).

Ely mayor John Ison will officially open the proceedings at 12.45pm, before he will travel by boat to mark the beginning of the entertainments at Jubilee Garden.

The event is being organised by Ely Rotary Club, Star Radio and the Hereward Rotary Club.

Eric Grant, of Ely Rotary, said: "The main attraction at Lavender Green is 'Cyril the Racing Squirrel' and his racing terriers and members of the audience will be invited to participate with their own dogs."

"The main raft race starts, as always, at 3pm, when the crowds are thrilled by the spills and cheer themselves hoarse egging on their favourite team."

One such team will be Star Radio. Mark Peters, Breakfast Show presenter and programme controller at the station, said: "It is the first time we have entered a raft, but with the Help of Standen Engineering we look forward to not only winning the raft race but setting a world record time for the route.

The Star Radio team decided to enlist the skills of Ely's Standen Engineering to put together the sleek craft pictured below.

"Most of the 'HMS Star' team are overweight, which we are hoping will help the buoyancy of the raft," he said.

"I grew up in Ely and can remember visiting the Aquafest every year with parents and grandparents and it's great to now be part of the Aquafest as a media partner."

The Ely Standard has also put forward a team. Ely's Shearline Precision Engineering came forward to offer their services and offered to make a raft for the Standard team. The raft, which has been christened Titanic by staff, will be manned by editor Debbie Davies, sales rep Chelsea Fulcher, tele sales assistant Lesley Harrison and artist Ben Fidoe.

"In stark contrast to the Star team, most of the Standard team are lightweights, but we are confident that the aerodynamics of our craft and a strong current on the day will see us finishing in a strong position," said Davies.

The Wicken Youth Band will be performing, as well as the Soham Fenlander Majorettes. The Cambridge MG car club will be displaying its classic vehicles, alongside Dream Cars, which is bringing along a Ferrari, a Porsche and two TVRs.

Anyone can enter the race by building a raft of their own design or by using one of the self-assembly kits provided by Ely Rotary Club.

INFORMATION: Raft-race entrants can apply to Richard Halsall on 01353 777599. Firms and organisations are also invited to sponsor teams. For more information on the event, and Ely Rotary Club, visit www.elyrotary.co.uk.

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