Victorious Usain Boat in Charity Raft Race

JMDA Design, based in Pershore, Worcestershire, raised a grand total of £630 from a seven hour raft race in support of Wooden Spoon Charity and Blackmarston Special School’s new road safety garden in Hereford.

The morning of Sunday 24th July saw 53 homemade rafts battle the waters and race down the river Avon hosted by Wellesbourne & District Lions Club, with six troopers from JMDA Design in their first raft race. With lifejackets on, t-shirts and homemade headbands to add to their racing costume, they bravely sat in their meticulously hand-built raft, humorously named Usain Boat after the famous sprinter, and rowed down the River Avon.

Beginning in the small village of Wasperton, the seven and a half mile challenge featured two weirs, narrow areas and twists and turns, before finishing in Stratford-upon-Avon. The pressure was on, not only to win, but also to ensure their raft lasted the distance.

Originally planning on a 4 hour journey, JMDA finally crossed the finish line 7 hours after setting off. After getting stuck in reeds, jumping out at weirs, emptying barrels with leaks but always remaining positive, Usain Boat came in last place at 5pm.

Chris Lester, key designer of the raft, says, “The team were fantastic on board and never gave up on our goal of finishing the race no matter what the circumstances. We all had a great laugh, got extremely wet and definitely learnt a lot for next time! The support we had from friends, family and spectators was fantastic and all on board want to say a big thank you to everyone who supported us through donations and encouragement. We hope the money helps bring Blackmarston School closer to building their sensory park and we all look forward to the results.”

The annual raft race is run by the Wellesbourne & District Lions Club; the event has raised around £750,000 over the years and this year is their 40th Anniversary.

Blackmarston School based in Herefordshire, focus on disabled children and those with learning difficulties.

This year JMDA is celebrating its 25th Anniversary and have become official corporate sponsors of the Wooden Spoon Charity. Wooden Spoon is dedicated to helping disadvantaged and disabled children across the UK. JMDA specialise in the design and development of child safety products and feel very close to the work that Wooden Spoon carry out.