The Great Hythe Rotary Rotary Raft Race

Written by HV Wooding on 11th July 2016



As part of the local community in Hythe we always strive to support any local happenings where possible and an opportunity so happened to present itself in-conjunction with Hythe festival 2016 between the 1st and 17thJuly.

The Festival comes round every second year and is still going strong after 22 years. In fact, there is even more history than that, for in 1951 when the Civic Society was still called the Hythe Citizens’ Union, a Festival Week with a nearly identical logo took place and included (according to the Official Programme – price 6d), an Arts and Crafts Exhibition in the Institute (First Prize a 4-valve AC/DC Mains Wireless Receiver), a Ball in the Imperial (tickets 12/6), a Miss Hythe Festival, (young ladies over 16, resident in Hythe could enter; afternoon dresses to be worn), a Fashion Show, a Puppet Show in The Grove……

This year events are planned so that there will be something in the programme somewhere to appeal to all ages and also to attract visitors. There are old favorites like the Free-for-All on The Green, the Canal Bank Concert, the High Street Parade, a varied programme of Concerts in St Leonard’s Church, a Festival Ball, and appearances by a Military Band. Other events have been added gradually: FHODS Concerts in the Tower Theatre at Shorncliffe, an opportunity to visit the Grand Redoubt inside the Ranges, a Fashion Show, a Car Show….

We were approached as part of community to put in a team of four for the raft race and actually managed to pull together two teams of four. These being Hell’s Beaks and HMS Overload. On the 3rd July at 9am we gathered in our Royal themed fancy dress for our safety briefing and instructions on how we were going to race and who. To our delight and support for the event and Demelza house there were actually 6 teams taking place in the races of varying age groups and genders so it looked to be set for a great day with live music, the sun shining and supporters cheering us on.

Although we all work for HV Wooding there was still of course some rivalry and to our astonishment we were actually through to the semi-final and had to race against each other. HMS Overload won, but due to the race times and previous qualifying rounds we were still both through to the finals. After a final heat of races HMS Overload took the title of 1st place and Hell’s Beaks took the 3rd place.

It was a brilliant day and great fun was had by all with the highlight being we now have an enormous trophy to display for the next 2 years until we compete for the title once more.