Splashing good time at Aquafest

A BRIGHT red double decker London bus and a stylish sports car with its own trailer were just two of the whacky and flamboyant rafts that took to the river during Ely Aquafest.

A huge variety of rafts were paddled along the Ouse, as their crews battled it out during a fantastic afternoon of fund raising, cheered on by the enthusiastic crowds.

Aquafest is run by the Rotary Clubs of Ely, and Aquafest committee chairman Jacqueline Whipp said: “We had an absolutely brilliant day, the weather was kind the crowds turned out to support us.

“I would like to thank everyone who took part, especially the raft racers; some of the craft were extremely inventive.”

The raft race was won by Cambs Compressors; the double decker bus crewed by Motion on the Ocean was second, and the Outlaws Western Club came third. In the scouts race, 1st Witchford Scouts took the honours.

Jacqueline added: “We tried to diversify this year, and were pleased to welcome various organisations including the Cambridgeshire Partnership crime bus, the ambulance service, and Heart Start, showing visitors how they can save lives.”

The crowds were wowed by an excellent bird of prey demonstration by the Raptor Foundation; and the Bujinkan Ninjutsu Ely Dojo martial arts group gave a great display.

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The Mayor of Ely, John Yates, opened the riverside gala that took place at Lavender Green and Jubilee Gardens. Entertainment providers included Ely Samba Band, March Vintage Cycles, Feathers School of Dance, King’s School Band, and the Lantern Dance Company.

“We try to do something different every year,” added Jacqueline; this year we had a really good mix of activities and entertainment.”

Money raised at the Aquafest riverside gala goes to local charities, but the total raised has not yet been finalised.

“Money raised will support community and charitable endeavours,” added Jacqueline. “We are hoping to find a sponsor for the raft race next year.”