Ever wondered what it’s like to enter the Needham Raft Race? This piece from the local Mencap Ipswich Newsletter sums it up quite well!
“Milly and some of the staff at Burgess House decided to do the Raft Race at Needham Lakes. I thought they were totally crazy to even think about it. We set to and organised drums, pallets and some other things they required. Then there was a hitch because regulations say you cannot use drums which have contained oil unless they have a cleaning certificate. Just one week before we had six drums and some rope donated by Munton’s Ltd., Stowmarket. Within a few days the raft was built and painted. Then how to get it there? We collected the trailer from Royal Hospital School, it was so big this seemed to be the only way.
The day arrived and it was freezing cold, so much that we all wore winter coats and my three were wrapped in blankets to keep warm. We had decided to do a picnic and hot drinks. Out came the gas urn and various bits. We sat under the gazebo and because it wa so cold people were asking to buy tea and coffee. Obviously we couldn’t sell it but the donations were rolling in and certainly kept us busy. When the time arrived for the race we were all well and truly ready. The first set did their bit then the second, including our team. Two of the girls rowed it to the launch pad and it seemed fine. They’re off, “Whoops” maybe not, they were in the water. Try again! NO, in the water again, oh dear. After the fourth attempt they decided to abandon it. It raised a laugh if nothing else. Some people were putting in donations just for the fun factor. Naturally the girls were disappointed but vowed to try again next year and as long as we have some time to prepare and build it should be OK.
Undeterred the Mencap team are confirmed for the 2014 Raft Race determined to do better.