Video & Gallery: Sunshine and celebration mark the return of Aquafest

PUBLISHED: 12:14 06 July 2009 | UPDATED: 10:58 04 May 2010


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SUNSHINE, celebration and Elvis paddling down the River Ouse were the hallmarks of this year's Aquafest in Ely. Thousands of people from across the county turned out to enjoy a packed day of entertainment by the riverside

SUNSHINE, celebration and Elvis paddling down the River Ouse were the hallmarks of this year’s Aquafest in Ely. Thousands of people from across the county turned out to enjoy a packed day of entertainment by the riverside.

Along with a veritable feast of music and dance, people were also treated to martial art performances, bands, raffles, stalls and an enormous array of culinary delights as the show returned for its most successful year to date in terms of the number of people who attended.

The all-important annual raft race brought with it the usual array of hopeful oarsmen and women, including groups of monks, hot-dogs, pirates and even a team calling themselves Elvis Lives.

They were all out-done though by the Olympic efforts of the Cambs Compressors team who powered past the best of the competition to take their place on the Aquafest leader board with a winning time of seven minutes and 35 seconds. The award for most entertaining team went, unsurprisingly, to the Elvis Lives’ team who impressed the watching hundreds with their guitar shaped paddles and flawless wigs. In second place was the hotdogs team. A team of apprentices from Shearline in Ely designed and built a raft themselves and were hoping to steal the 2008 Raft Race crown from Thor Lab, but only managed a third place position. Shearline won the race in 2003 and finished third in 2006.

The raft team consisted of Joe Halls, 20, Shaun Calver, 17, Thomas Walkley, 17 and Neil Dodd, 18.

"We believe that further improvements could be made to the raft and our paddling technique but finding the extra two minutes needed to beat the big guys of Cambridge Compressors and ThorLabs may require seven days a week in the gym next year,” said the Shearline team.

Event organiser John Marshall from the Ely Rotary Club said, “It really was a great success and myself and the organisers were really pleased with how it went.

“I have been involved with the event for a few years now and I have to say that it was the best one I have been to, especially as the weather held up.”

The event, which has been running for more than 30 years, was spread across two main sites, with stalls and displays at both Jubilee Gardens and Lavender Green. Though forecasters had threatened rain, the sun shone brightly for much of the day, which was organised by the city’s two rotary clubs. The event is set up to raise money for several charities and it is hoped the total will run into the thousands.

To buy photos: go to: myphotos24.co.uk

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