Enter the Dragons
AN excited crowd cheered on friends, family and total strangers as they rowed their hearts out at the annual Dragon Boat Race.
A total of 36 teams competed at the event on the River Nene in Peterborough yesterday to raise thousands of pounds for charities.
The Dragon Boat race invites total novices to try their hand at rowing an 18 seat vessel along a 200 metre stretch of the River Nene alongside the Embankment.
Organiser Merk Hauck, of Gable Events, said: “It is a great thing for the kids and we are delighted to see everyone having such a good time.
“The festival has a casual but lively atmosphere which is exactly what we wanted. Everything has gone really well.
“In total we have raised in excess of £15,000 on the day, but we are still collecting donations so that might increase.”
This year East Anglia Children’s Hospices will receive two-thirds of the donations, with the rest being spread around a variety of charities.
Each team consisted of 16 rowers, one drummer and one steerer. Staff from local companies and organisations, including Peterborough City Council and the Queensgate shopping centre took part in the event.
The squad from Queensgate epitomised the fun nature of the event, and team member Carol Wakelin said they didn’t mind if they finished first or last.
Mrs Wakelin, who works as the shopping centre’s environment coordinator, said: “It is a great atmosphere down here.
“Although there is obviously a bit of competition we don’t mind where we finish – as long as we don’t fall in the river.”
A crew of teaching assistants from The Phoenix School dressed as sailors in an attempt to retain their prize as best dressed team, which they won last year by wearing pirate outfits.
Rower Louise Alexander said: “We actually practiced with a rowing machine in our office last week. We took it in turns to row for 10 minutes throughout the day.
“But we are all here socially and I think we had a better chance of winning the fancy dress prize than the actual race.”
Continuing the fancy dress theme Marcus Howe (21) dressed as a smurf to captain one of the five Elliott Group boats.
But neither effort impressed as much as Accent Nene’s ‘Clowning Around’ team, whose facepaint and clown costumes won them the coveted prize.
As well as the races there was a fairground put on for the day including dodgems, flying teacups and a climbing wall.
The event also included entertainment by juggler Dan The Hat, a theatrical lion dance by the Wing Chun Kung Fu Chinese display team and even a Battle of Britain flight Dakota aircraft flypast.
SPECTACLE: Crews compete in the Dragon Boat Racing on the River Nene yesterday. (METP-20-06-10PF057)
SPLASHING TIME: The Elliott Kitchen Sinkers put their backs into it. (METP-20-06-10PF001)
EFFORT: The Larkfleet Dragons put everything into their first heat. (METP-20-06-10PF033)
PADDLING: Crews compete on the Nene yesterday. (METP-20-06-10PF014)