Fringe Box



Poo Protest on the Wey as Lions’ Raft Race Splashes Past

Published on: 2 Jul, 2023
Updated on: 2 Jul, 2023

And we’re off, in all directions, for the 2023 Guildford Lions Raft Race.

By Hugh Coakley

The annual Guildford Lions Charity Raft Race splashed along the sunny river yesterday (Saturday, July 1) with a lighthearted poo protest at Walnut Bridge against Thames Water dumping untreated sewage into the River Wey happening at the same time.

Local XR members sat on toilets in a poo protest against Thames Water discharging untreated seawge into the Wey as the rafts splash by.

The race, supported by Zero Carbon Guildford, has been a feature in the town for over 50 years. The turnout was double last year with 19 rafts entered and seven paddleboards.

Determined to win, or at least stay afloat.

Rafts were being constructed by the river at Millmead just before the race started at 3pm with interested passers-by giving handy tips.

The 2.5km course, Millmead to the Waterside Centre near the Row Barge pub, is much longer than it seems if you are paddling it in an unstable craft. But of course, that is the tradition.

The nice weather helped the good turnout at Millmead to watch the Duck Race and the start of the raft race.

Looks great but will it last the gruelling 2.5km course?

It included a Duck Race at the start and a barbecue at the finish and was well attended by friends of the competitors and families on a free day out on a wonderfully sunny afternoon.

Les Holdaway’s team, Hooks Wet Dream, won the Champions Super Raft. This is their 24th entry into the raft race.

The results were:

  • Champion Youth Raft: 1st Rydes Hill (St Mary’s) Scouts.
  • Champion General Raft: Headway Surrey 1.
  • Champion Super Raft: Hooks Wet Dream – Cranleigh Lions Club (Les Holdaway).
  • Best Presented Raft: Jubileaky – Jubilee Social Club.
  • Best Presented Junior Raft: Waterskater – 1st Shalford Guides.
  • Sustainability Award (judged and awarded by Zero Carbon Guildford): 1st Stoughton Explorer Scouts.
  • Champion Paddleboarder: Basil Bahrani.

Paddleboarders take a bow at the finish.

Stop swanning about!

The Mayor of Guildford, Masuk Miah, presented the awards to the delighted rowers.

In a contemplative mood at the XR poo protest at Walnut Bridge. Photo Matt Gordon.

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Responses to Poo Protest on the Wey as Lions’ Raft Race Splashes Past

  1. Geoff Sheldon Reply

    July 3, 2023 at 3:26 pm

    A fun day in the sun for rafters and spectators alike, now with Surrey Care Trust’s duck races and well supported by Zero Carbon Guildford. Thanks as ever to the public of Guildford for their great support.

    Geoff Sheldon was the Raft Race organiser for Guildford Lions Club

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