Derby

Boxing Day Matlock raft race cancelled over safety fears

Matlock raft Image copyright Kaine Taylor
Image caption The race has been going since the 1960s and attracts dozens of rafts

A charity raft race has been cancelled due to safety fears over a river.

The Matlock Raft Event has taken place on Boxing Day for nearly 60 years but organisers said debris from flooding in the River Derwent was still a concern.

The Derbyshire event attracts dozens of entries and thousands of spectators and raises money for the RNLI.

The organising committee made the "really tough" decision at a meeting on Sunday after heavy rains and flooding last month.

Image copyright Nick Rhodes
Image caption Rafts vary from the simple to the spectacular

Ian Ryde, from the committee, said: "We had been checking the river levels and it looked to be okay but the real issue is the amount of debris in the water.

"It is so disappointing because for me it's the best day of Christmas, but hopefully it will be all the more buzzing next year."

Dozens of people have expressed their disappointment on social media.

Competitor Leah Philbin said on Facebook she had been going to the event since she was a child.

"I understand it's very disappointing (I feel this myself having spent time, money and energy building our raft this year) but I think people need to remember and respect the volunteers who work tirelessly to make this event possible.

"Nobody wanted to cancel this event and it's not a decision anyone will have taken lightly. Safety has to come first," she said.

Some businesses have expressed concern extra stock ordered will now go to waste.

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