HAMPSHIRE residents made a splash over the weekend with the return of one of the county’s biggest spectacles.

The Great Waterside Raft Race was welcomed back to the village of Hythe after a year-long hiatus due to bad weather.

At least 1,000 spectators lined the foreshore to watch the action and see competitors get a soaking.

The usually annual event involves a wacky collection of homemade rafts tackling a square-shaped course between Hythe Marina Village and the pier.

Launched more than three decades ago the fun-filled event is organised by the Hythe and Calshot branch of the RNLI and in 2017 raised almost £8,000 for the life-saving charity.

Last year’s race was cancelled just 48 hours before it was due to take place.

Organisers scrapped the contest after forecasters warned that the county would be battered by heavy rain and strong winds, sparking fears that rafts, tents and marquees would come to grief in the stormy conditions.

The race is always held between the two high tides unique to the Solent area.

Featuring six-races, it included contests for decorated rafts and racing craft, plus events for all-female crews and pubs, with teams trying to take the trophy away from the Ebeneezer’s team, who have won it every year since its introduction. A junior contest for sailors aged 17 and under was followed by a handicap race with a staggered start.TV historian Dan Snow, who lives nearby, present trophies and medals to the race winners.