Cat no. 501

The Crate Race

Running time7:07 Colour Silent 1977 Southend-on-Sea, Essex

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A fancy dress raft race in aid of the RNLI taking place in Southend-on-Sea in August 1976



A fancy dress raft race at Southend in August 1976. It was organised by Wavyline Grocers in aid of the RNLI. Crews, all with sponsorship, came from all over the South East. The race raised £6,000. The film also features a suitably sardonic commentary by the DJ, John Peel.

The film begins with general beach scenes as competitors prepare for the race. Some prepare boats, some adjust their costumes; others concentrate on important things like fixing their make up. One boat is lifted onto the beach by crane. Competitors in a range of fancy dress costumes, line up for the race. The rafts are in two classes; speed rafts (which go fast) and fun rafts (which go - hopefully!) Described by the commentator as pinnacles of precision engineering, none of them look too serious. There is a Viking Ship and two banana boats. One is a canoe type and the other puts two bananas together, catamaran style. (This is seen at sea later with one of the bananas missing.) There are many close up shots of the faces of the competitors as they line up. There is a flour fight even before the race commences.

The craft are paddled vigorously away from the beach. There are many shots of the rafts during the race. The inshore lifeboat is on hand in case of need. One raft drifts off course and goes under the pier. It is too high to fit and the top of the raft is knocked off. There are shots back to the beach showing the crowds cheering the boats as they return. Miss Southend is present. Many rafts are rapidly sinking as they finish. The prizes are presented to the Mundesley Rescue Team for the Speed Class and to the Seaforth Viking Ship from Norwich for the fun class. The film ends with further shots of the rafts, now having a soot and flour fight. These scenes are accompanied by the 1812 Overture.

Featured People:

Miss Southend-on-Sea

Featured Organisations:

Wavyline Stores; RNLI; Mundesley Rescue Team

Featured Events:

A fancy dress raft race in aid of the RNLI, August 1976

Featured Buildings:

Southend Pier

Westcliff Cine Club

Chris Taylor

Ron McEwen; Nigel Barnes

Peter Broughton

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