Companies prepare for Shrewsbury charity raft race challenge

4th June 2014

Thirteen teams of 'pirates' are set to put their sailing skills to the test in the Morris Lubricants Raft Race for charity on the River Severn from Bicton to Porthill Bridge in Shrewsbury on Sunday, June 8.

The race, which is part of Shrewsbury River Festival and has a pirates theme, aims to raise more than £4,000 for the Midlands and Wales Air Ambulances Services, Morris Lubricants' adopted charities this year.

Last year's successful inaugural race attracted an entry of eight rafts and was won by car dealership J. T. Hughes, who will be defending their title.

Also competing will be teams from Morris Lubricants, Salop Leisure, Bearing Man, Burnt Tree, Gately Wareing, Greenhous, Lloyds Bank, Morris Property, Multisol, Rea Valley Tractors, Midlands Air Ambulance and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Apart from making a river-worthy raft, each team must pledge to raise a minimum of £250 to take part, with the proceeds being shared between the two air ambulance services.

The teams will float down to the showground in Shrewsbury, where they will line up on the Severn for a race to Porthill Bridge.

"It’s a fantastic, fun event that brings companies together for the day, said event organiser Phil Gittins from Morris Lubricants. "The competing teams are all our customers and suppliers and it's a good way of meeting up with them whilst raising money for a good cause at the same time."

To add a little spice to the race, Morris Lubricants is looking to avenge a recent charity challenge football match defeat to Salop Leisure at the Greenhous Meadow Stadium. The Salop Leisure team is building a raft in the shape of a caravan and has been practising on the small wildlife pool at the company's Emstrey headquarters to prepare for the challenge.

"It's a fine opportunity to take revenge and get the Salop Leisure team wet at the same time," said Mr Gittins. "We will be ready for the challenge this time."

Salop Leisure's managing director Mark Bebb said: "Having shown our superiority on land during the football match, we now aim to do the same on water and look forward to accepting the challenge from Morris Lubricants and the other teams."

The River Festival, which is organised by Shrewsbury and Shropshire Waterways and Leisure Group to teach people about water safety awareness, is a day of family fun in the Quarry Park and on the River Severn from 10am to 5pm.

This year's theme is "The Return of the Pirates". Visit www.shrewsburyriverfestival.co.uk for more information. Families are being encouraging to don pirate fancy dress both on land and on the boats and to take along fog horns, whistles and drums for the flotilla parade.

The raft race is part of Morris Lubricants’ annual charity fundraising challenge. Over the past two years the business, in association with sister company Morris Leisure, has raised £20,000 for the Teenage Cancer Trust and £12,000 for Severn Hospice.