This September, the NAS apprentices entered the Monmouth raft race in order to raise money for St David’s Hospice Care. This historic event, in its 49th year is traditionally held in early autumn. The competitors are tasked with building their own raft and racing it from the steps of Monmouth rowing club to Whitebrook farm, 6 ½ miles downstream.
For over three weeks, the apprentices toiled to create what could only be described as an engineering masterpiece. Clearly attending college is paying off. So confident were they of the designs river worthiness they felt no need to test the raft prior to the race.
The day of the race arrived, and with it the beautiful weather that 2014 will be remembered for. The seven team members easily lifted the substantial raft onto the lorry generously provided by One 2 One Logistics of Risca. At quarter to noon the raft entered the water for the first time and floated well for something weighing nearly a quarter of a tonne. At 12 the starting horn blew and the race was underway.
The race itself was largely uneventful apart from the barrage of eggs and flour that rained down from every bridge and a couple of close calls in the rapids. Following two hours and seven minutes of hard paddling the apprentices floated into Whitebrook to loud applause in a respectable 42nd place.
The Apprentices have raised over £200 for St David’s Hospice Care through their participation in the race and they would like to pass on their thanks to everyone who supported their efforts through their time, knowledge and sponsorship.