Lifesavers' podium finish a real 'Struggle'

PUBLISHED: 12:16 09 October 2015

Sidmouth Surf Life Saving Club take on the River Dart Struggle

Sidmouth Surf Life Saving Club take on the River Dart Struggle

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A group from Sidmouth Surf Life Saving Club (SSLSC) negotiated a ramshackle craft through rapids and weirs to a third-place finish in one of the toughest raft races in the country.

Sidmouth Surf Life Saving Club take on the River Dart StruggleSidmouth Surf Life Saving Club take on the River Dart Struggle

The crew of instructors went up against 42 other teams in Sunday’s (October 4) River Dart Struggle.

The SSLSC group, made up of Dave Manley, Alex Spalding, Mike Shillingford, Ian Perry, Robin Goodman and Steve Upperdine, clocked an impressive time of three hours and 29 minutes.

The 14km route pits teams against a mixture of calm stretches, fast-flowing weirs and white water through the Devon countryside.

The annual charity race attracts hundreds of entrants, who are required to construct their own raft from a limited list of environmentally-friendly materials.

SSLSC training officer Mike Shillingford said: “We have been teaching young people water skills and lifesaving techniques over the summer through the club and this was our turn to use our survival skills!”

Their participation in the famous race was made possible thanks to a £240 sponsorship from the Lions Club of Sidmouth.

Dave Manley, SSLSC chairman, thanked the club for its generous donation.

Lion Chris Rignall said: “The club was delighted to sponsor SSLSC with £240 to enter the Totnes Rotary Club’s River Dart Struggle for charity.

“The Lions recognise that the SSLSC provides great facilities and experiences for youngsters, and the club has also provided the SSLSC with two special surf skis earlier this year.

“We wish them every success in the future.”

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