Forty-five big-hearted local organisations and groups braved the wet weather to take part in the 21st Peterborough Dragon Boat Festival on Saturday 8th June.
The teams didn’t let the rain dampen their enthusiasm and fighting spirit as they took to the water at Peterborough Rowing Club, Thorpe Meadows, to race it out in authentic 30ft Chinese dragon boats.
Organised by Gable Events and sponsored by IKEA, the festival once again saw local people grabbing paddles to raise vital funds for Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice – with the latest total at over £30,000. The hospice is the only specialist palliative care inpatient unit in Peterborough and cares for people who are living with life-limiting conditions, as well as supporting their families.
Each team had a drummer at the front of the boat beating out time as they completed the 200m race course. After a day of heats, with many of the teams dressed in an array of colourful and creative costumes, it was time for the semi-finals.
The semi-finals saw races between: IKEA’s ‘The Kamprad Krew’, Xperience Group’s ‘Dynamic Dragons’, Whirlpool UK Appliances Ltd’s ‘Team Hotpoint’, TVSG’s ‘TVSG The First’, TVSG’s ‘TVSG The Second’, Ballast Phoenix Ltd’s ‘The Phoenix Pirates’, Microbyte Solutions Ltd’s ‘Microbyte’, Peter Brotherhood Ltd’s ‘The Brotherhood Offices’, Barhale’s ‘The Rat Pack’, IKEA’s ‘The Flatpackers’, Fitzwilliam Hospital’s ‘The Fitzwilliam Pacemakers’ and ParentMail’s ‘Usain Boat’.
Cheering spectators lined the bankside for the nail-biting and extremely close final between TVSG’s ‘TVSG The First’, IKEA’s ‘The Flatpackers’, Barhale’s ‘The Rat Pack’, and Fitzwilliam Hospital’s ‘Fitzwilliam Pacemakers’.
‘TVSG The First’ were declared the champions, beating the runners-up ‘The Fitzwilliam Pacemakers’ by a third of a second.
The Mayor of Peterborough, Councillor Gul Nawaz, gave out the prizes and congratulated the teams.
This included a prize for the ‘Best dressed Crew’, which was won by Ballast Phoenix Ltd’s ‘Hawaii Five-O’s’ who were dressed in hula skirts and flower garlands.
The ‘Charity Champions’ prize went to the staff at TVSG who have raised over £6,000 so far for Thorpe Hall Hospice. They won the special prize of a group experience day at Orton Hall Hotel & Spa, which will include Buck’s Fizz on arrival, morning use of Imagine Spa’s facilities, lunch and an afternoon with locally based CJ’s Birds of Prey.
Nilesh Patel, Senior Community Fundraiser at Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice, said: “A huge thank you to everyone who came together on what was a very soggy Saturday to race Dragon Boats, have fun and race vital funds for our hospice. The gloomy weather certainly didn’t dampen people’s spirits and we had an incredible day. It is very humbling to see the lengths that people will go to, to support our hospice.
“Congratulations to the overall winning team, TVSG The First. We are really grateful to all the teams who took part; the funds raised will help us to continue to provide our expert palliative care and be there when it matters for local families. While our care is provided free of charge, it costs £3.4 million every year – and £2.4 million of that has to be fundraised, through events such as the Peterborough Dragon Boat Festival.
“We would also like to say a special thank you to the Festival organisers Gable Events, sponsor IKEA and all the volunteers and spectators who helped out and supported on the day.”
The Peterborough Dragon Boat Festival is set to return in June 2020 and will once again raise funds for Thorpe Hall Hospice. For more information, please contact the hospice’s fundraising team on 01733 225 999 or firstname.lastname@example.org.