Roaring Dragon Success

Almost 300 competitors paddled across Goldsworth Park Lake on Sunday for Woking & Sam Beare Hospices annual Dragon Boat Challenge. Sixteen teams took to the water competing against each other in colourful long boats, and plenty of sunshine and local support meant the day was a roaring success.

True to tradition the event started with an awakening ceremony for good luck, where WSB Hospices’ Trustee, Sue Jones, dotted the eyes of the Dragon Boats, and members of the Chinese School of Woking performed a colourful Lion Dance. Each team could include up to 20 people and everyone got to race three rounds. The four fastest teams were then selected for the final.

Dragon Boat Challenge-70 smallDragon Fly, The Semmco Sinkers, The Reg Varney Rowing Club and Burpham Boaters made for a very close final, but team Dragon Fly clinched it with the fastest time of the day 1 minute 8 seconds!

Sandie Chandler, a Clinical Nurse Specialist at the Hospices, was Captain of Dragon Fly and said “ Some of the team took part last year – we came 4th then and got the bug!  This year Maria from the Sam Beare Community Team joined my colleague Michelle, former colleague Pam and myself. Word had gotten out how much fun it had been last year, so there were in fact three teams from the Hospices and the stakes felt much higher. There was a lot of banter between the boat captains and on the day I found myself doing lots of ‘pep’ talks and lots of re shuffling in the boat. Thank fully my son, nephews and their friends, who were on our team, were all used to me yelling and bossing them around so there wasn’t too much resistance. Along with our secret weapon (Gavin!) we had done a team building away day last month, which highlighted just how competitive both Maria and I were. It was a really great day and I am so proud and chuffed with our team. Who knows – you may even see us take part again next year!”

The event was being held in memory of Kris Cook who suffered a cardiac arrest in last years Prudential Ride London-Surrey while raising money for the Hospices. Kris grew up close to Goldsworth Park and he regularly attended Woking Water Activity Centre. His girlfriend Nicola Tait was Captain to the ‘KC in the House/Boat’ and his Mum Sue, handed out the winning medals. They declared the day a fitting tribute to Kris, especially as it fell very near to his birthday.

Rosie Gibbons, Head of Community Fundraising and organiser commented, “Our second annual Dragon Boat Event received such warm and positive feedback, and we are delighted with how it went. We had an additional 6 teams taking part this year and we look forward to building on this further. It really is such good fun, and once people have tried it, they are hooked and want to come back and support us again.”

The date for next year’s Dragon Boat Challenge is still to be finalised and registration will open in early spring 2016.

Relive the fun of the day in our highlights video here.

Thank you to Bob Holmes from the Woking News & Mail for sharing his wonderful photos of the event with us.