The event marked the early launch of the 2015 Dragon Boat Festival, a huge charity river race, held on the Cam at Ditton Meadows each year. The event, which takes place this year on 12 September, sees local teams and businesses go head to head in a series of lively races taking place throughout the day.
Teams of up to 10 people (including a drummer) must propel their traditional-style dragon boat along a 200m stretch of the Cam, watched by several hundred cheering spectators.
“We’ve been running the Dragon Boat Festival in Cambridge for ten years,” said Merk Hauck of race organizers Gable Events. “This will be its 11th year in September, in support of our brand new charity ACT, which is a fantastic new partnership.”
Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust (ACT) is dedicated to making a difference for patients at Addenbrooke’s and the Rosie hospitals. Whether it’s treatment for an emergency, acute condition, pregnancy or long term illness, it ensures every patient receives the highest quality of care available.
Carla Brown, corporate fundraising manager at ACT, commented: “We are delighted to be the chosen charity for this year’s Dragon Boat Festival. We’re hoping to raise a minimum of £15,000 from the event, which will be used where there is the greatest need for it within the hospital.”
Michelle Gray, head of community fundraising at ACT, added: “We are especially delighted to be the festival charity this year as we are celebrating our 10th anniversary. We are excited to be launching the event in the centre of Cambridge and hope businesses will support our much-loved hospitals by getting a team together for this popular event in September.”
Passers by peeped from under umbrellas to watch as the punt and dragon boat lined up for the race, which took place today (19 February) by Cambridge’s Quayside.
Speaking ahead of the race, Merk explained: “We’re launching the event today, on Chinese New Year – the year of the sheep. Though it’s slightly disputed, as the Mandarin translation of the word is ‘small horned animal’. So this could mean either goat, ram or sheep. But it’s commonly known as the year of the sheep.
“And although it’s raining, the Chinese dragon god is the god of rain, therefore we’ve been blessed by the god, so we’re bound to have a good race. There’s always an upside to the rain!”
Indeed, the dragon boat crew, manned (and women-ed) by an amateur team from ACT, went on to snatch victory from the jaws of the Scudamores punting team – winning by a dragon’s snout.
:: Does your office have a competitive steak? Entries are now open for September’s race. For more information, visit: www.dragonboatfestivals.co.uk/cambridge