‘Squaring’ up for Raft Race 2012

PORTRUSH Raft Race committee is delighted to announce that the new sponsor for the 2012 charity event will be Victoria Square in Belfast.

The Raft Race is well established on the tourist calendar for the North Coast but this year it has the added attraction of dovetailing into the Olympic Flame arriving in Portrush coupled with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

This should make for a great weekend in Portrush!

Maryna Wylie, Chair of Raft Race 2012, said: “This is a very exciting year for the Raft Race in terms of attracting a major sponsor like Victoria Square and we are delighted to have local Portrush man Hugh Black, the manager of Victoria Square on board, along with Alan Simpson from Radio Ulster, who brings his own style to the event.

“But to be the lead-in event for the Olympic Flame is a once in a lifetime occasion for our town.”

Hugh and Alan met members of the Committee and the volunteer lifeboat crew after their exercise on Sunday to hand over a cheque of £5,000 sponsorship money.

Alan arrived in style, on his Stand Up Paddle (SUP), confident in the knowledge that the whole Volunteer Portrush Lifeboat Crew were on standby!

“I am delighted to be on board literally to compere the 2012 Charity Raft Race. It’s like the wacky races on water and it’s been part of my ‘Portmagic’ world for many a year,” said Alan.

The Portrush Raft Race regularly attracts upwards of 70 rafts and has raised approximately £500,000 for Portrush Lifeboat Station over the last 31 years. The Race is organised by a volunteer committee who start planning the next year’s Raft Race immediately after the last one.

Maryna added: “The Committee of volunteers is dedicated to making this a fun and safe event for all the family to enjoy and we’d like to thank all those who turn out on the day to lend a hand. We are indebted to Coleraine Borough Council and the PSNI for their on-going support year in and year out.”

A new development for this year’s Raft Race will be a Victoria Square Facebook competition which will set challenges for local celebrities who will be living on a specially constructed island in the middle of Victoria Square, Belfast from April 3rd-5th.

This will be known as the ‘Square Desert Island’ and will be built by a Portrush Construction Firm, Gemini Homes.

Hugh Black Manager of sponsor Victoria Square said: “I want to bring the fun and craic of the Raft Race to the centre of Belfast and to raise awareness of the RNLI and the work of the volunteer crews. We have been lucky in attracting some celebrities to live on the island in the middle of Victoria Square and we haven’t had to twist arms to get them to do it...well not yet anyway.”

Watch this space for more details!

The Victoria Square Charity Raft Race in aid of the RNLI takes place on Saturday 2nd June at the Harbour in Portrush. Application forms can be obtained by dialling the Raft Race Hotline -07969814605.

Mayor of Coleraine, Alderman Maurice Bradley said: “The RNLI Charity Raft Race in Portrush is one of the most popular events held on our local coastline. The RNLI do great work and Coleraine Council is delighted to be involved with an event which supports such a worthwhile charity.”

“I have no doubt that people from throughout the Borough and further afield are greatly looking forward to this fun filled family event.”