Flypast to be a boat race day highlight

August 04 2017
Flypast to be a boat race day highlight

A LANCASTER bomber is due to fly over Wells on Bank Holiday Monday as a highlight of this year’s Moat Boat Races.

The annual Wells Moat Boat Races take place on and around – and usually in – the moat which surrounds The Bishop’s Palace. Weather permitting the World War Two bomber, one of only two Lancasters remaining in airworthy condition, will fly directly over the Bishop’s Palace site during this year’s event.

Months of planning and preparation by the organisers, Wells Lions Club and Wells Air Cadets, will reach a watery climax on August 28, entertaining thousands of people and raising cash for local charities and good causes.

There will be a record number of races – 16 in total with the heats and finals – starting at 1pm and concluding around 4pm. And a record number of racers are expected to be taking part, with more than 20 teams competing for glory. All the rafts are constructed from empty oil drums lashed together with wood and rope, and each team spends months preparing and decorating them.

There will be plenty to entertain people throughout the day, from around 10am onwards. In the Bandstand Park beside the moat, local charities will be manning fundraising stalls. Food and craft stalls and rides and slides for the children will add to the attractions. A new addition this year will be a Go-Kart racing track from Tincknell Country Stores with all proceeds going to charity. Musical entertainment will be provided by Congresbury Brass Band (sponsored by Bluebird Care Mendip) and Mendip All Drummers (sponsored by Shepton Vets).

A Lancaster bomber

A Lancaster bomber will fly directly over the Bishop’s Palace site during this year’s Moat Boat Races - weather permitting

Principal sponsor for this year’s races is once again The Swan Hotel. Their sales and marketing manager Natasha Mingo-West said: “The Swan Hotel is delighted to be the main sponsor of the Wells Moat Boat Races this year. We wish all the participants a safe passage. We’ll be raising a motley crew of our own to take part, and we’re also very pleased to be helping raise lots of money for local charities.”

Sponsorship is critical to the success of the annual races. Wells Lions Club president Paul Clegg said: “The generosity of local businesses means that all our costs are covered, so that every penny we collect on the day will go directly to one of our good causes. Last year we raised £5,000 and enabled many local charities to raise as much again through their stalls.

“It isn’t too late to get involved. We still have space for a few race teams and stalls. We also need volunteers to help on the day. 

“For all details you can call me on 01749 671596 or email me at”