Clubs, companies and groups of friends are gearing up for this year’s Cambridge Dragon Boat Festival, taking place 12 September 2015.
Edition was part of the action last year and can confirm that it’s a huge, colourful, slightly crazy (in a good way) day out – and the best part is that it’s all for a good cause.
This annual charity event sees teams of up to 11 people (including a drummer) crew a traditional Chinese dragon boat and race a 200m stretch of the River Cam at Fen Ditton. Now in its 11th year, the 2015 Cambridge Dragon Boat Festival is supporting Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust (ACT). Michelle Gray, head of community fundraising at ACT, says: “We are especially delighted to be the festival charity this year as we are celebrating our 10th anniversary. We hope that businesses will support our much-loved hospitals by getting a team together for this popular event in September.”
One of the first teams to sign up was Kerio Technologies UK from Cambridge. Crew manager Tracy Shepherd says: “This will be our fourth year [at the Dragon Boat Festival] and we love it! Kerio decided to enter the dragon boat challenge primarily for team building. One of our colleagues from Prague said it’s the best team building event he has been to. “We also invite families to the day, and promoting company awareness is a bonus. Our team is made up from every division within the company and from all of our offices globally including Russia, America and the Czech Republic. We want everyone involved to know that as a company we value our employee’s family lives and want them to feel a part of Kerio. Also, the participants from our sales team want the trophy!”
There’s a definite sense of friendly rivalry at the festival, with teams also seeking to outdo each other in terms of their outfits. Popular fancy dress themes in previous years have included Smurfs, Vikings and cowboys and Indians – can you do better? There’s plenty happening on the bank too, with stalls, music, inflatable activities for the kids and Chinese themed entertainment taking place throughout the day. Most teams make a day of it and bring food and drink, set up a barbeque and enjoy the fun.
Other early entrants include Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust, Horizon Discovery, Cambridge Commodities Ltd, ARDEX, Linton Health Centre, Granite Transformations and Barton Willmore LLP.
The team from Linton Health Centre will be led by Val Wheeler, one of the senior partners of this busy GP surgery. She comments: “We entered a team into the Dragon Boat Challenge for some team building and to help raise money for Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust. Working within the NHS has been very challenging in recent times and we hope this challenge will boost morale and staff will benefit from a fun family day out. We are looking forward to the event and the build-up is giving staff a real buzz!”
The Festival, supported by Cambridge Edition and Heart, promises a fantastic day for competitors and spectators alike. No sporting experience is necessary – anyone can join in. The dragon boats and all racing equipment are provided and each crew is guaranteed a minimum of three races. For more information on getting a team together, call Gable Events on 01780 470718 or go online. The top fundraising crew for ACT will receive a prize meal courtesy of The Red Lion, Whittlesford Bridge. So start fundraising now… and get ready to find out who in your office has the biggest competitive streak!