Sea festival success

All's fair in love and... raft races

The third Rye Festival of the Sea was an enormous success on Sunday, September 1, with a record number of visitors to its new venue on the Town Salts.

Organiser Rebekah Gilbert said: “We could not have made this happen without two major factors; our sponsors and our volunteer committee. We are extremely grateful to The Mermaid Inn, Douglas Rowe Finance, GMP accountants, Dynamic Events, Bournes, 1066 Country/ Rother District Council, Rye Heritage Centre, Simply Italian, plus The Cinque Ports, The Waterworks, Wizzwheels, Rye Harbour Holiday Homes, Cheryl Creaser, Sussex Wildlife Trust and Rye Hire. Our committee chaired by Councillor Andi Rivett, plus Sophie Crouch, Kirsty Dougherty, Dave Kite, Ian Gibson and myself, plus Cheryl Creaser for manning the info stand all day and for Bernie Fiddemore of Iden Boarding Kennels for running our first, and fabulous dog show, all gave up so much of their time and expertise, and it was a great pleasure to work with such incredible local people.”

Our very own town crier, Paul Goring, all at sea!

The raft race saw nine crafts entered and the winners for a third year running were Skinners, winning the Reg Emson Trophy and sponsorship money from Rock Channel Marine. On a new raft and despite numerous attempts to unseat them all, they still battled through to first place. The Mermaid Inn gents’ team came second and the ladies third, who also won the best-dressed raft as a team of mermaids, which was sponsored by Utopia / Rye Shoes. Winners of the best effort for a small craft, sponsored by the Pipemakers Arms, were Rye Harbour Holiday Homes, who kindly donated their winnings to the festival funds.

Three teams entered the tug of war, which was greatly entertaining and won by the Brightling Farmers who had earlier battled in the raft race, and who beat the Bournes tug team who had likewise participated. Runners up were Rye Rugby team, also rafters.

The thronging crowds were entertained by the 1066 Rockitmen and there was a team display from the Rye Cadets on the main arena.

Next year it is hoped to return to the Salts for another year of family fun and entertainment. Anyone wishing to help or sponsor the event is most welcome.

Image Credits: Andrew Bamji , Nick Forman .


  1. We have in fact had a number of articles on this over the last few months, James. You may not be a regular reader and if that is the case why not subscribe (see below), get Rye News delivered to your in-box every week (it’s free) and never miss anything again!


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