Hilarity for charity as raft racers take on sea challenge

RACE A sprint contest develops between two teams.    (112518-0159)
RACE A sprint contest develops between two teams. (112518-0159)
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THEY drank, they sailed, and they sank – but nothing could stop the fun at a charity raft race in Langstone.

Pub teams and local businesses took to the high seas at The Ship Inn, Havant, in custom-made rafts to kick-start the annual Langstone Rage for worthy causes.

COMPETITION The race hots up (112518-0103)

COMPETITION The race hots up (112518-0103)

14 daredevil teams got in the maritime spirit as they battled it out across Langstone Harbour in the hope of winning trophy prizes and bragging rights.

Oars and arms moored off from the Langstone Road local as teams raced each other to a buoy and back in the fastest time.

Not even the torrential weather could dampen their spirits as Hayling Young Farmers were declared first place winners. Close behind in second were GKN Aerospace Engineering Services, whilst quirky web designers Yes Can Do, who built their very own Scooby Doo mystery machine, ran out as best fancy dress winners for the fourth year running.

Featured groups included the Hayling Joggers and Portsmouth Penguins rugby club.

Sam Roberts, 19, from Langstone, said: ‘It’s been a fantastic day despite of the rain. We’ve all had a great time and knew we would get wet anyway!’

Nathan Trowbridge, 30, from Hayling Island, said: ‘Hats off to the pub for organising such a fantastic event. We come every year and it brings the community together.’

The event, which has been running for the last 13 years, raises money for Queen Alexandra Hospital’s Rocky Appeal, St Johns Ambulance, Havant, and the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. So far over £900 has been collected and a cheque will be presented to each charity in October.

The team which raises the most money for charity will also be presented with a trophy later in the year.

John Delahunty, co-owner of The Ship Inn with wife Rita, said the event was the most important day in the calendar.

He said: ‘The emphasis is on community spirit, local people and getting everybody involved for worthy charitable causes. We’re proud to run this because it makes for a really fun afternoon.’

Ship Inn barmaid Amy Mason, from Havant, enjoyed the occasion with her 24th birthday.

She said: ‘It has been loads of fun and I’ve loved spending my birthday here.’

The day featured a hog roast and prize raffle with an MP3 player, designer perfume and watches on offer.

Mrs Delahunty said: ‘It’s been a superb turnout on such a groggy day and we look forward to next year.’