The Lewes to Newhaven charity raft race

 In Feature article

Here at Ashtons we try and do our bit for charity and on the 3rd of July, a handful of hardy souls from our team in Brighton, took on the notorious Lewes Raft Race.

This was the 41st raft race and was created in 1975 by Lewes & District Round-table to bring the community together and to raise money for charities. It has since managed to raise over £500,000 for good causes and allows people to have a great time while doing so.

Ashtons took a team of 6 to take part in the race, with a lot more going along to support them. The team had to plan and design a raft that would float, having to make use of discarded materials around our warehouse and using contacts all over to get as many floatation aids as possible.

Once that was done, the hard bit ensued. They had to battle their way down the River Ouse on their makeshift raft while racing other boats and getting pelted with the events traditional projectiles such as eggs, tomatoes, and flour bombs. The people of Lewes really didn’t disappoint with their throwing arms with one spectator apparently throwing hard boiled eggs! The effort was clearly there.

“I do not know what was worse, the pain of being hit directly with an egg or, once hit, spending over 3 hours covered in its contents slowly drying and cooking in the sun. We smelt revolting at the finish!” – Neil McDermott

The team really did well and arrived in Newhaven tired, wet and covered in leftovers. They didn’t do all this for nothing though, as they were aiming to raise £1,000 for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) and, at the time of writing this, the total stands at £2,110, which is an amazing achievement. This is a cause that is close to the heart of many at Ashtons due to the tragic loss of our colleague last year and raising this amount should help the royal lifeboats carry out the important work they do.

The Ashtons raft team finished with a time of 3 hours 15 minutes which was better than most of us imagined, considering the team thought the raft wouldn’t float the day before the race. Prizes were awarded for “Fastest Time”, “Most Devious Means” and “Best Decorated” and in 2014 they added a category for “Best Named”.

Ashtons, unfortunately, didn’t win any of these, but it’s the taking part that counts…

If you would like to donate any money at all to the team’s valiant effort then the Just Giving link is:


The Ashtons Team in all their glory


Raft Race 4




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