6Heads is racing in the Lewes Raft Race, join us on the 9th of July and get involved in building our raft with permaculture based workshops

Lewes Raft Race is an infamous charity race that takes place every year along the river Ouse from Lewes to Newhaven providing a fun day out (http://www.ouseday.com/) and a chance for people to fundraise for various local and national charitable causes.


This year the race in on Sunday 9th July and a 6Heads team will be part of the line-up having been officially accepted as raft one of only 35 entrants from the hundreds of applications.

Our design looks to create a living raft that will live on after the event, moored on the River Ouse permanently as a bioremediation island. The Ouse has several urban waste water works discharging into its waters and a large number of isolated communities also drain towards it. The ever growing issues of diffuse pollutions are a constant concern. The river water quality has high levels of ammonia, phosphate and nitrates (reference http://www.cleanriverstrust.co.uk/the-rivers-ouse-five-distinct-rivers/).

The project is being headed by Louis Rutherford, the founder and Director of the award-winning Gaia Gallery touring eco-barge project. He has experience of floating bioremediation island design following training with Leela O’Dea (http://frogenvironmental.co.uk/about-us-water-quality-sediment-specialists/leela-odea/) whilst working with the Canal & River Trust and subsequent certification as an EST Event Leader for waterway clean-up events with Thames 21.

We’ve got the basis of a raft we’ve built already but – applying the theme of pollution, and water pollution specifically – our design looks to feature hundreds of plastic bottles, bagged up and affixed under the island around the barrels (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spiral_Island as our inspiration). This removal of water bottles from a make>use>waste linear process and reuse makes a visual comment on the issue of plastic pollution in our waterways and oceans.


We are looking supplement these bags with hessian sack fenders around the side that we fill with straw inoculated with mushroom mycelium (http://allsalvia.co.uk/salvia-shop/mushrooms/edible-mushroom-spores/branched-oyster-edible-mushroom-spore-vial/). Oyster mushrooms suck heavy metal pollution from watercourses (see www.amazonmycorenewal.org for how this process has been used to clean oil-polluted watercourses in Ecuador).

Finally, secured in place with their roots in the water, will be our sunflowers in homage to the chernobyl phytoremediation clean-up projects using sunflowers to clean waterways contaminated by atomic waste (https://prezi.com/sjt60d78rc4b/chernobyl-a-case-study-in-bioremediation/). Sunflowers are one of the most powerful phytoremediators or plant-bio accumulators of heavy metal and toxic elements.

We need your help to build the raft, support our journey and race down the river. Here’s how you can get involved:


Join the build sessions for a fun workshop based on permaculture principles and learn about thethe inspirational Gaia Gallery living boat project in London to help us raise awareness and to ensure the legacy of this project is continued through public engagement work from their touring eco-barge platform in London (http://gaiagallery.co.uk/).


London workshop dates are in Walthamstow – 75 Barclay road E17 9JH

Thursday 29th June 6pm – 9pm

Friday 30th June 6pm – 9pm

Saturday 1st July 10 am – 6pm

Sunday 2nd July 10 am –  6pm

Register here to join a build session – we are asking for a £15 suggested donation to join these workshops to raise money to support the Gaia Gallery and support the chairty requirement of joining the race.

Please note for weekend dates you are welcome to drop in for part of the day, however, the permaculture workshop part will take place in the morning. Fun, making and learning will be on tap all day!


We are looking to source a few items to be loaned to the boat team and returned to you after the event.

1. A red flag! This is to be used in emergencies (so hopefully won’t be used at all!) – if you have one lying around – please let us know.

2. Oars!

3. Buoyancy aids, ie. life vests, bands etc.

4. Used plastic bottles to be form part of the raft structure.

5. Hessian sacks, coffee sacks, umbrella’s

If you know of a water sports club who might be interested in helping or sponsoring us then please contact Louis louismelvillerutherford@gmail.com or Louisa (at louisa.harris@6-heads.com).

Join us on the day as a spectator or onboard the raft!!!

Finally, it would be great to see you on the day! The raft race kicks off at 14:15 on Sunday 9th July and a 6Heads walk is being planned around the event.

We are still confirming the final logistics of the walk but the plan is to take the 11.47 train from London Victoria to Lewes, walk together to the raft race and then join the crew after.

There are also three spaces left on the raft to join the race if you would like to be part of the 6Heads racing crew.

While we are getting our registration up and running for the day please email Louis or Louisa at louismelvillerutherford@gmail.com or and louisa.harris@6-heads.com to confirm your place as either onboard the raft or for a day out watching the race



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