PHEW what a scorcher as thousands pack the riverside for Aquafest - but it could all have been so different following early downpour

Ely Aquafest 2015. Picture: Steve Williams.

Ely Aquafest 2015. Picture: Steve Williams. - Credit: Archant

Visitors to Ely had a splashing time on Sunday at the city’s annual Aquafest.

Ely Aquafest 2015. Picture: Steve Williams.

Ely Aquafest 2015. Picture: Steve Williams. - Credit: Archant

The event, organised by the Rotary Clubs of Ely, is a riverside gala that offers something for all the family and this year did not disappoint.

It has been running since the 1970s and has got bigger and better every year, bringing fun for the community while raising cash for local good causes as well as for emergencies abroad such as in Nepal. Eight rafts took to the water to compete along the course between Lavender Green and the Cutter Inn with the Outlaws Western Team proving the fastest with a paddle.

Best raft was won by a team led by John Smeaton with their floating fire engine and the rafters all dressed as firemen.

Winners of the newly introduced most bouyant business award was Thorlabs who managed to come second and third with their entries.

Ely Aquafest 2015. Picture: Steve Williams.

Ely Aquafest 2015. Picture: Steve Williams. - Credit: Archant


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Race organiser Viv Doji said the day had been a huge success with everyone happily cheering on the rafts.

She praised the Sainsbury’s team who took almost an hour to complete the course on their bright orange raft.

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“They definitely proved they had perseverance,” said Mrs Doji.

Phil Smith, chairman of the organising committee, was also delighted with the day’s success.

He said: “I must admit I was a little worried first thing with the rain but was a lot happier once the weather brightened. It is difficult to say how many people attended because we don’t charge admission, but I would say it was definitely up on last year and that could have been down to the weather.

“We had a number of highlights including the K9 Dog Display which was back this year by popular demand. The Ely Rocking Ukuleles also went down well.”

Mr Smith is hopeful the event will raise at least as much as last year’s £3,000 total for good causes, which include both local and overseas emergencies like the Nepal earthquake.

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