Organisers of the Five Rivers Festival, run by the Rotary Club of Salisbury, hope to reduce the minimum entry age to eight next year so that more families can get involved.

Salisbury’s first ever festival of the rivers on Bank Holiday Monday attracted 40 people who floated through the Avon Valley Nature Reserve, and 17 teams took part in a giant Duck Race on the River Avon at Churchill Gardens.

Float organiser David Clayton said: “The Float is really Salisbury’s equivalent of what they call ‘Tubing’ in the USA. The whole experience took just over two hours from start to finish, including a registration, briefing, transport up to the start, a 70-minute float down the river and a warm shower afterwards. Feedback from participants was fantastic. At the bottom of the boardwalk at Ashley Green, Salisbury Fire Station held an extra car boot sale which was also well-attended. Several river organisations involved included Wiltshire Wildlife Trust and Salisbury & District Angling Club educating children and adults on the bugs, including hatching mayflies, and fish which inhabit the water and on how best to look after our rivers.”

In Churchill Gardens, 17 teams of three braved the cold water to race 100m down the River Avon on giant inflatable ducks. The teams tried a number of different ways to navigate the course and cross the finishing line first. The heats led to a hotly contested final won by Spruce Pools which received trophies from Caroline Corbin, deputy mayor, and Matthew Boatwright, managing director of Boatwrights Estate Agents.

The organisers thanked Salisbury City Council, Unstuck Design, Boatwrights Estate Agents, Five Rivers Recruitment and Berry Telecom, whose generous sponsorship and support made the event possible. Local charity and water search and rescue experts Serve On provided the river safety for the two events.

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