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Weird and wonderful vessels compete in Matlock’s Boxing Day Raft Race – PICTURE SLIDESHOW

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The River Derwent was awash with scores of weird and wonderful rafts on Boxing Day for a much-loved festive tradition.

The 51st Matlock Boxing Day Raft Race saw hundreds of fundraisers board decorated vessels – including a fire engine and a Viking longboat – to sail down the icy waters to Cromford.

Thousands of people lined the river bank to watch the thrilling event, which is organised by the Derbyshire Association of Sub-Aqua Clubs.

It raised more than £6,000 which will be split between the Royal National Lifeboat Institute, the Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Rutland Air Ambulance, the St John Ambulance and the UK Hyperbaric Unit, which treats diving injuries.

Ray Foster, who helped organise the race, said: “It was a great success and I’d like to thank everyone who took part and came to watch despite the chilly weather.

“It’s a popular event which raises a lot of money for some very important charities – it’s our way of doing something for them every year to thank them.”

The event was won by the impressive Viking raft.

Mr Foster said organisers had already started planning for next year’s spectacle.

• For a slideshow of pictures from Matlock Boxing Day Raft Race, visit our website.

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