The crew that turned over four times in the annual Rye Raft Race on the river Rother surfaced on top of the competition even if they didn’t win the race. The Ambrette Restaurants – in Rye and Margate – raised the most money for charity of any raft in the event organised by Rye & District Lions in August 2013. The crew’s chosen charity was the RNLI and the team’s sponsorship raised over £700.
Rye Lions were so impressed with the fortitude and bravery of the Ambrette crew that they decided to award a special trophy. Sue Clay, president of Rye Lions, presented them with a large silver salver at The Ambrette restaurant in Rye’s High Street. The salver was engraved with the message: “Rye & District Lions Club Raft Race Special Award 2013. To the Crew of four from the Ambrette Restaurant at Rye. Despite capsizing four times, they finished and raised the highest sponsorship for the RNLI.” More times than not the Ambrette raft capsized after being rammed by a larger craft. Some of the Ambrette crew came from owner-chef Dev Biswal’s other restaurant in Margate.
Rye Lions, formed 37 years ago, had one of their most successful years in 2013. Clay said the group had raised a total of £14,000 and given away £15,000, much of it to local good causes. The Raft Race alone raised £8,000.