Raft race raises record amount

THIS year’s Marykirk Raft Race has raised the magnificent sum of £7,000 which will be distributed among good causes in Aberdeenshire and the local area.

The race, held on the North Esk at the end of May, attracted an entry of 17 rafts - an excellent turn-out despite the poor weather conditions before race day.

Festivities after the race, which included children’s races, a family pet show, a craft fair and a Fly-Ball dog display as well as a human Fly-Ball race, other competitions and side shows, were also very well attended.

The raft race committee reconvened last Wednesday to review the amount of money raised as well as the beneficiaries and members were delighted that the fund-raising total has again exceeded the previous year’s.

A committee spokesman said: “Thank you to everyone involved, especially the rafts and their crew members. In total, the rafts raised over £2,500, with NOV Titanic bringing in the most sponsorship of £600.

“One particularly successful event was the balloon release. The winner’s balloon tag was picked up on a marker buoy between the Shetlands and the Faeroe Islands by the Marine Coastal Agency. We have the latitude and longitude, which will be put on the website and Facebook pages to show how far it travelled.”

The race was won by Wonkavators who completed the course in 29 minutes and 48 seconds.

Committee chairman Bruce Tait this week commended the hard work of all the committee members and their supporters which resulted in the record total despite difficult financial conditions.

He said: “The community supported us really well and the shops, such as Active Paws, are to be thanked for putting on excellent shows such as the dog agility classes and races. Robson’s the vests are to be thanked for judging the pet show, and Mearn’s Hardware in Laurencekirk was invaluable in providing many of the pieces of equipment needed to set up the park.

“There are many others who also helped, such as the local farmers, especially Ronnie Reid, who provided the tattie boxes we used as the bar. My apologies to anyone we have overlooked, but we are really grateful.”

This year, a quarter of the money will be donated to the Children’s Hospice Association Scotland (CHAS) in Aberdeen and a quarter will be given to Carronhill School in Stonehaven.

The balance of the funds will be divided among a number of local causes including the Marykirk Hall, whose committee provided excellent support and ran the event’s craft fair; Marykirk School and Craigo Village Hall, which provided coffee at the beginning of the race.

Mr Tait added: “We are also giving support to the RNLI, on behalf of the Coastguards, who again provided excellent support and backup; St Andrews, who provided first aid for the park event and First Responders and the district nurses, unsung heroes in our community. We are also providing help to Denlethen woods, Blaickiewell Horse Sanctuary and the Macmillan Nurses at Stracathro. Finally, the bowling club, Marykirk Toddlers’ group and the WRI helped with stalls on the day, and we are acknowledging that support as well.

“Altogether, an excellent event when the sun shone in a period of absolutely foul weather, and one we hope to repeat and improve on next year.”

The presentation night will be held on Friday, August 24 and the AGM the following Wednesday, August 29, both starting at 7pm in the Marykirk Hotel. New volunteers and committee members will be made welcome.