Olney's annual Raft Race was one of the most hotly contested for years, with last year's winners the Gaffros being beaten into second place by the Hollow Wood Surfers with a winning margin of just 4 seconds. But for entertainment value, the day belonged to the Blunderbirds, the costumes were F.A.B.....
A veteran team who have competed in the annual raft race for 20 years won the men's contest by the narrowest of margins. Good tactics to get a quick start probably secured the Hollow Wood Surfers their first place. But it was another impressive race from the under 18 crew Gafros to gain their second place overall and win their age group.
For the women's event, there could only ever be one winner. The Take a Plunge crew is a team of friends from the Ousedale Campus. They put in an impressive effort - dressed in day-glo. The before, during and after photographs tell the story of the gruelling event.
The loudest cheers went up for a team of men dressed in Thunderbird costumes, as they paddled their Lady Penelope aboard their homemade Blunderbird raft. It looked wonderful, even if only one of the 'engines' was firing/smoking. They had a slightly hesitant start with some members seemingly relunctant to get in the water. There were also several occasions where the raft threatened to topple in the water. They deservedly won the 'most entertaining' raft. At the prize-giving, the team promised to come back next year, perhaps with another creation.
One of the event's organisers, Mark Luckin, told OlneyOnline: "This was one of the best attended and hardest fought races for years and we hope the crews will be back next year."