Alnmouth raft race leads weekend of events

Today's Vikings proved somewhat less successful than their invading forefathers after having to be plucked from the water in a village raft race

Teams compete in the Alnmouth Raft Race
Teams compete in the Alnmouth Raft Race

Today's Vikings proved somewhat less successful than their invading forefathers after having to be plucked from the water in a village raft race.

A team dressed as Nordic warriors were among several which had to be helped from the water by a lifeboat crew after their rafts capsized in the race at Alnmouth, Northumberland, on Saturday.

But it was all part of the fun at the race, which is held every year to raise money for the RNLI at nearby Amble, collecting thousands of pounds each time.

The event, organised by Alnmouth’s Sun Inn, saw 13 adult teams competing alongside 13 children’s rafts.

Winners of the main event were a team from Sainsbury’s while the children’s race was won by Da Hui.

A team of women dressed as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles claimed the prize for best fancy dress. Sun Inn landlady Melanie Ross said: “It was really good. It was busier than normal. Most of them capsize at some point. That is the fun part of it.” Visitors enjoyed a marquee and beer tent and there was also a funfair and bouncy castle.

Elsewhere on Saturday, crowds flocked to one of Northumberland’s oldest village shows, at Slaley. The event, now in its 154th year, laid on a range of attractions, including a new food hall and marquee based on the archaeological project taking place around the Dukesfield Arches, the remains of the biggest lead ore works in Europe from about 1600-1835.

There were also appearances by Stanhope Brass Band, alpacas, rare-breed cattle and poultry and Irish dancers.

Crowds were also treated to ferret classes, ferret racing, roulette and walking; quoits, dog jumping, Mrs Merlin the magician, galloping gymnasts and flying eagles, Punch and Judy, and terrier racing.

Show chairman Jim Bailey said: “It was extremely satisfactory. We had a good turnout, the weather stayed fine but rather dull. The turnout was probably above average, but not as good as last year.”

Farther north, Speedway fans came together to show their support for seriously-injured Berwick Bandits star Ricky Ashworth. The rider suffered head injuries in a smash while riding for his team at Scunthorpe earlier this month.

He was knocked unconscious and taken to hospital in Hull, where he remains in a serious but stable condition.

On Saturday, fans came together for the FIM World Under-21 Championships at Berwick’s Shielfield Park, donning black-and-yellow wristbands in support of Ricky. The event was open to the public, in return for donations, while cash from the wristbands was also being handed over for the stricken rider.

Dick Barry, who helped with the tribute, said: “People have travelled from all over Europe today to be here and they will be wearing the bands too for Ricky.”

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