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Pirates and picnics at wacky raft races

PUBLISHED: 09:22 30 June 2003 | UPDATED: 14:03 03 March 2010

HUNDREDS of people gathered at Needham Lakes as teams stuck their oar in and battled it out for victory.

Pirates and Picnics was the theme for Needham Market's raft race which saw around ten teams, including two from Wattisham and one from Suffolk police, compete in home made rafts.

HUNDREDS of people gathered at Needham Lakes as teams stuck their oar in and battled it out for victory.

Pirates and Picnics was the theme for Needham Market's raft race which saw around ten teams, including two from Wattisham and one from Suffolk police, compete in home made rafts.

Needham Market hosted the wacky 200m race for the first time last year and it attracted a 3,000 strong crowd. It's popularity meant organisers decided to make it an annual event.

Karen Last, chairwoman of the Needham Market Race Committee, said: "It is very much a family day and all good fun.

"We got lots of feedback last year from people saying what a wonderful time they have had."

The winning team was from Alder Carr Farm , and the fire service's team Smoking Buccaneers won the award for the best-dressed raft.

Community police officer Paul Elding took part with colleagues PC Kevin Sheilds, PC Samantha Jenkins and his daughter Clare Mills. They all wore eye patches.

PC Elding, Martyn Dew and Steve Womack made the creation out of plastic, barrels, wood and rope.

"Will it last the distance? I don't know, but I hope so," he said before the race.

"It is a bit of a laugh. A family day really. We don't for one moment expect to win, but you just don't know. Some people are taking it very seriously though."

Peter Griggs, on the Mid Suffolk District Council building control team who dressed as pirates for the occasion, said: "We are just taking part for the fun of it.

"Our raft is made out of recyclable building materials."

Also among the teams was Alder Carr Farm who returned to defend their title.

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