St Mary's WI have said they are proud to have finished last in Sunday's RNLI Raft Race. 

The team, consisting of Angela Jenkins, Karrie Skaife, Carmen Stevens, Be Combes and Liz Lourensz, claimed afterwards that they were purposely going at a "very sedate, ladylike pace".

The ladies wore old-fashioned floral dresses from the charity shop, with biodegradable 'rock buns' made of porridge oats, flour and water as ammunition. 

The raft, designed by Nick Jenkins and Todd Stevens, consisted of one pallet, a couple of scaffold boards, plastic cans, wooden spoons and some bunting. Although it appeared to onlookers be sinking from the off, the crew insisted that it was actually meant to be low in the water.


Angela, who came up with the idea of taking part in the race, said: "It was at the same level all the way through. We didn't expect to stay on for very long so we didn't want to have far to fall. We wanted it to be low so we'd be virtually on the water when it happened."


Meanwhile, Carmen described it as a "stealth raft". 


Of their reasons for entering, Karrie said: "The WI has been quite a traditional one here and it's gradually evolving and changing to attract slightly younger people. I think things like this make a difference. People see it and they might think 'actually that seems like a good bunch of people'."


The ladies agreed that the highlight of the event was the man dressed as a pirate on the quay who joined in their rendition of WI anthem 'Jerusalem' on his kazoo. 


And they said they were more than happy with their performance. Be said: "There was a race off with the kids at the end and they were delighted because they beat us. I think the fact that we did everything - rowed, sang 'Jerusalem', threw things - and actually stayed on was brilliant."


However, lessons were learned for next year. The rock buns were too heavy and difficult to grab hold of. It was agreed that an "ammunition bra" was needed that they could keep the buns in while rowing. 


"I had trouble lifting them let alone throwing them," said Carmen. "Next year we'll get organised and go to the charity shop for huuuge bras!" 


The Raft Race included teams from the RNLI, Fire Service and Ratbags alongside a children's team and various others. 


 Check out our Raft Race pictures here.

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