There is a new date for one of Stroud’s best-loved events which will now be held on Sunday 25th September.
The rafts will set sail along the town’s Thames & Severn Canal from Wallbridge to Capel’s Mill and back, with crews competing to see who takes the crown in the Cotswold Canals Trust Raft Race, which has been dubbed the Golden Duck in honour of charity’s 50th anniversary this year.
The hotly contested event is open to everyone and there are still spaces in the races! To register a team please visit https://cotswoldcanals.org/support-us/goldentrow22/register-your-craft/ or call the team at Bell House on 01453 752568.
One of those who has already signed up is Sue Fenton of Stroud District Green Party, whose team is finding imaginative ways to create their vessel.
“We’ve taken part in the race before,” explains Sue, whose team was narrowly pipped at the post the last time they raced. “So this seemed like a great opportunity to try to improve on our previous performance and to get involved in what looks like being a fun and really worthwhile community event.
“We’re aiming to use second hand, recycled or donated materials for our raft, including empty liquid containers kindly donated by Stroud Valleys Project’s eco shop.”
For town councillor Sue, the fundraising event has particular significance, thanks to the crucial role the canal plays in providing a habitat for local wildlife.
“The natural world is really important to me” she says. “The work of the Cotswold Canals Trust is a fabulous example of collaborative, volunteer-driven work to restore and improve the environment, not just for wildlife but also for people and the local economy.
We all consider ourselves lucky to live near such a wonderful asset as the canal. We love walking or cycling along it, or just sitting next to it and watching the birds and fish and feeling closer to nature.”
Sue is still working out exactly which six of her colleagues will pilot the homemade raft, but they will be looking to an old hand for tips: “We’ll certainly be taking advice on boat-building, rowing technique and race strategy from the outgoing Mayor of Stroud, Cllr Kevin Cranston, the Green group leader on Stroud Town Council. Kevin was part of the council team in a previous race so is our go-to for all things nautical!”