Hundreds of spectators turn out for the return of fun Hartlepool Carnival raft race
Hartlepool Carnival’s annual raft race made a splash on its return for the first time since the pandemic.
The Headland was heaving on Saturday, September 4 as hundreds of spectators lined the town wall and pilot pier to watch the wet and wild fun.
Three teams of friends and families built and entered rafts for the race which involved them paddling furiously from the Fish Sands out into the bay and back again in the fastest time.
This year’s triumphant winners were the Weightwatch team comprising six relations of Dorothy Tighe of Croft Terrace.
Dorothy’s son-in-law David Watson said: “We entered last time in 2019 when we came second.”
But this year their lightweight polystyrene craft skimmed through the waves for them to claim the trophy and £100 presented by the Ceremonial Mayor of Hartlepool Councillor Brenda Loynes.
Cllr Loynes, a long-time supporter of Hartlepool Carnival, said: “It’s all good fun and the people that take part do really well.
"It’s bouncing and everyone is having a really good time which is what we want to see after everything that’s happened.”
Although they got off to a rocky start and came in last, a raft of the Flintsones’ car and characters won a certificate for being the Best Dressed Raft.
It was made up of six family members and friends from the Headland who enter the race every year.
David Johnson, who was dressed as Fred Flintstone, said: “We’ve been doing it for about 15 years.
"It’s the same raft we just decorate it each year. One year we did Only Fools and Horses, last time we did Toy Story and we have done Pirates of the Caribbean.
"It’s a good laugh.”
The Four UFO’s comprising of friends Tom Close, Paul Hart, Tony Trieod and Ian Adams were hoping it would be third time lucky for them, but they narrowly missed out finishing in second place.
The race was organised by the same team of volunteers who organised August’s carnival community events and grand parade.
Committee member Kevin Jones said: “We enjoy doing it and the people love it. It has been another good turnout. I think it’s brilliant.”
The road outside the Pot House pub was closed off for live music and bands on stage throughout the afternoon, children’s rides and food stalls.