Dragon boat 'spectacle' returns to marina after two-year break

Steve Bryce Ipswich Buses, Sandra Lucas Fresh Start New Beginnings, Paul Ager ABP, Anthony Van Damme

Steve Bryce from Ipswich Buses, Sandra Lucas from Fresh Start new beginnings, Paul Ager and Anthony Van Damme from ABP celebrate the dragon boat race back this summer - Credit: Archant

Dragons are preparing to make long-awaited return to Ipswich Waterfront, with the Fresh Start New Beginnings dragon boat race back on the calendar. 

The flagship event for the Suffolk-based charity has been cancelled for the past two years due to the pandemic, but will return on Saturday, June 11. 

Dozens of rowers will race along the marina in Chinese dragon boats to the rhythm set by their drummer – and the number of teams taking part this year has been doubled, with only three spots still available. 

Steve Bryce, Sandra Lucas, Paul Ager and Anthony Van Damme at the launch

The dragon boat race in aid of FSNB is coming back to Ipswich in the summer Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND - Credit: Archant

The 2019 event raised £14,000 for the charity which provides therapy to children who have been victims of sexual abuse. Fresh Start New Beginnings is the only provider of this type of care in the region. 

It takes about £2,500 to provide care to a single child and with around 200 children helped each year – and an ever-growing waiting list – charity bosses say funds are crucial. 

Sandra Lucas, corporate fundraiser with Fresh Start New Beginnings, said: "It's incredibly exciting to be able to bring the dragon boats back to Ipswich this year, having missed out on this fun spectacle of an event for two years.  

"We really want to make this the best one yet.  

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"With a bumper allocation of teams, we're confident that will happen, and we'd encourage anyone interested in taking part to get in touch to secure one of our last three spots.  

The team from Ipswich Buses, FSNB and ABP at the marina to launch the dragon boat event

Steve Bryce from Ipswich Buses, Patsy Johnson-Cisse from Fresh Start new beginnings, alongside Paul Ager from ABP, Sandra Lucas from Fresh Start new beginnings and Anthony Van Damme from ABP - Credit: Archant

"We provide the boats and a helmsman, you just need to provide 10 enthusiastic people to paddle and a drummer to keep you all in time.  

"A huge thank you to Associated British Ports (ABP) for allowing the event to take place and of course all the businesses who have entered teams already this year.  

"We've also received generous sponsorship from Ipswich Buses, who will be entering a team – a big thank you to them.  

"Whether you're a group of friends or a business, this is a fantastic day out for all.  

"We'll have side stalls, entertainment, food and drink lining the waterfront to make this a day to remember with a real carnival atmosphere." 

Anyone interested in entering a team or hosting a food, drink or entertainment stall is asked to contact sandra@fsnb.org.uk or call 01473 70511.