Fiery dragons to take to the lake
5:00pm Sunday 24th February 2013 in Latest News
ROTARIANS launched their first annual dragon boat race at Coate Water this weekend, as they aim to throw local charities a lifeline.
Swindon Phoenix, the town’s newest Rotary club, organised the race after the organisers of the Swindon Half Marathon announced runners will no longer be able to choose who they raise money for.
Instead, all cash from that event will go to the British Heart Foundation, potentially leaving some local charities out of pocket.
Rotarians, working with Dragon Boat Events Ltd and Feltham Construction, are urging people and businesses to get behind their event at Coate Water on June 30 as teams will be able to raise sponsorship money for any cause close to their hearts.
Dragon boat races are already regular events in other towns, including Chippenham and Abingdon, but they are not as frequent in Swindon.
Phoenix club president Paul Parfrey said: “This will be a great event to really put Swindon on the map, and will be a huge asset to our local charities and a marvellous opportunity for companies and voluntary organisations to have fun while fundraising for their favourite cause.”
Rotarian Peter Goldsworthy said: “The idea is simple – to do some fundraising while having fun and in warm weather.
“Hopefully we are going to give the people of Swindon an extravaganza. Coate Water is the perfect venue for it – it is wide enough for a six-boat final and people can crowd around and get a good view from all sides.
“We are looking for teams of 20 and there is no limit on the number of teams that can enter. We only ask that a minimum sponsorship of £20 per person is raised, with two thirds going to their chosen charity and one third to the Rotary.
“The more teams we get the better, as we will be able to raise as much money as possible – this is the first year we’ve done it and the sky’s the limit in terms of how much we want to raise.”
Chinese-style dragon boats will be supplied on the day, with medals and a trophy awarded to those who row the fastest.
Teams will be encouraged to enter in fancy dress but it is not compulsory, and there will be shore-side entertainment including a barbecue and an Arkell’s beer tent.
Each team gets a minimum of three races of a 250m course and a chance to enter the finals at the end of the day. Coate Water has the capacity to hold a six-boat final.
For more details and information on the event or on entering a team, email info@dragonboatswindon .org or visit www.dragon boatswindon.org.uk.