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Fresh call for sign-ups to Ipswich’s first ever dragon boat festival at town’s Waterfront

PUBLISHED: 14:03 16 May 2018 | UPDATED: 14:03 16 May 2018

Organisers are encouraging more people to sign up as they countdown to the event. Left to right, Linda Pipe, Jerry Coleman and David Hockley Picture: GREGG BROWN

Organisers are encouraging more people to sign up as they countdown to the event. Left to right, Linda Pipe, Jerry Coleman and David Hockley Picture: GREGG BROWN

There’s still time to pick up your paddles and sign up for Ipswich’s first ever Dragon Boat Festival.

Diana Porter, founder of Fresh Start - new beginnings, with fundraising manager Patsy Johnson-Cisse. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNDiana Porter, founder of Fresh Start - new beginnings, with fundraising manager Patsy Johnson-Cisse. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Boats bearing dazzling designs are set to add a splash of colour to the town’s Waterfront next month as the vibrant vessels race down the River Orwell.

Organised to raise thousands of pounds for Fresh Start – new beginnings (FSNB), challengers will paddle down the river to the beat of a drum.

The charity currently works with around 200 children who have been sexually abused, with 40 on their waiting list.

Staff at the organisation support youngsters and help them take away feelings of blame, shame and guilt.

Fresh Start - new beginnings are holding a dragon boat race on Ipswich Waterfront next month Picture: GREGG BROWNFresh Start - new beginnings are holding a dragon boat race on Ipswich Waterfront next month Picture: GREGG BROWN

Fundraiser Patsy Johnson-Cisse said: “We hope to raise £10,000 in sponsorship on the day and when you think it costs about £2,500 to work with a child waiting for our service, just £2,500 to help rebuild a child’s future that means we can help four more children waiting for our help. That’s only £2,500 to give a child, a family, hope to start looking forward.”

Bosses behind the event added that since the event’s launch, they experienced a big wave of entries, and opened up the event to event more participants.

But they are still looking for more sign-ups, in a bid to support as many children as possible.

“The more teams who sign up to take part, the more children we can help,” Ms Johnson-Cisse added.

Several teams and squads – including school pupils, pub landlords and local businesses – are ready to take on the challenge, which will see the first ever Dragon Boat Festival arrive in Ipswich on Saturday, June 2.

Accompanying the races will be an all-day riverside extravaganza, including activities such as colouring competitions and face painting. Onlookers will also have the chance to try out dragon boat racing on dry land, thanks to supporters Ipswich Haven Marina and ABP. Divisional Port Manager Paul Ager said: “We are thrilled to be helping this small children’s charity doing extraordinary work locally.

“The Ipswich Waterfront is the ideal location to host the race due to its proximity to local businesses and restaurants, which means all participants will be able to enjoy the day to the fullest.”

To register your interest and find out more about the upcoming festival, visit www.fsnb.org.uk

Or, contact Ms Johnson-Cisse on 01473 705111.

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