THIRTEEN teams of rowers were all aboard for the annual Kidderminster and District Lions Club raft race.

The race, which took place on Sunday, saw teams row from Bewdley to Stourport for the first time instead of of the usual starting point at Arley.

This year's event also saw the first mass start for the event, releasing all 13 colourful rafts downstream at once from Bewdley Rowing Club.

Kidderminster and District Lions member Ron Cross said: "It went very well indeed, the new venue was a success. Everybody who took part enjoyed it and they looked as though they were when they were on the water.

"I would like to thank the Bewdley Rowing Club and the Stourport Boat Club for their help and the part they played. Without them, we couldn't put it on as easily.

"It was the first time we had a mass start. All of the rafts were tied up to a rope and on the command, we released the rope and they made their way downstream.

"There was a huge turnout in Severn Side North in Bewdley and there was a crowd in Stourport watching too."

The overall winner with the fastest time of one hour and 15 minutes was St Peters 419 Lodge from Wolverhampton and Andy's Barber Shop in Stourport won the best dressed raft.

The Swashbucklers, of Stourbridge, came in last place but helped to raise funds for the Living Springs charity, which helps young mums and vunerable families.

Team member Jean Roberts said: "We sang all the way and the pirate theme was played out well with renditions of 'What Shall We Do with a Drunken Sailor'.

"At one point, one crew member started to sing the theme tune from the Titanic when the back of the raft started to sink and when the other rafts disappeared out of site there were shouts of 'have we taken a wrong turn?'

“We wanted to participate in a local event to help raise funds for the families that move on from Living Springs.

“I’m really proud of the team, everyone remained in good spirits even when they were soaked and covered in egg and flour."

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