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Row, row, row your dragon boat - gently down to Ipswich waterfront

PUBLISHED: 16:30 29 May 2019 | UPDATED: 14:26 30 May 2019

A lady in the Gilmour Piper Dragon Boat having trouble with her fancy dress hat during one of the races in the 2018 dragon boat race. Picture: STEPHEN WALLER

A lady in the Gilmour Piper Dragon Boat having trouble with her fancy dress hat during one of the races in the 2018 dragon boat race. Picture: STEPHEN WALLER

© Stephen Waller

A blind physiotherapist is celebrating her hen party in an unconventional way as she challenges her groom-to-be at this year's dragon boat races in Ipswich.

Fresh Start - new beginnings is hosting its second Ipswich Dragon Boat Race at the waterfront on Saturday, June 1. Picture: STEPHEN WALLERFresh Start - new beginnings is hosting its second Ipswich Dragon Boat Race at the waterfront on Saturday, June 1. Picture: STEPHEN WALLER

The dragon boat races return for a second year this weekend, as 21 teams take to the water in aid of charity Fresh Start New Beginnings - which provides therapy to children and young people who have been sexually abused.

Among the 21 teams racing on Saturday, June 1 are The Floaters - headed up by bride-to-be Rebecca Lake, who will be challenging her husband-to-be and his stag party for their pre-wedding celebrations.

Rebecca, 44, who is registered blind and lost her eyesight as she got older, said: "Ahead of my wedding I wanted to have some fun and the dragon boat race seemed the perfect opportunity.

"I challenged my fiancé and we are entering the race in fancy dress."

Visitors watching the Dragon Boat races at The Waterfront, Ipswich.
Picture: Stephen Waller 
www.stephenwaller.comVisitors watching the Dragon Boat races at The Waterfront, Ipswich. Picture: Stephen Waller www.stephenwaller.com

She is also planning a day of "marathon massages" in order to boost her fundraising efforts.

Businesses will put their rowing skills to the test as they take part in a number of heats raising money for the Suffolk charity.

The races will begin at 10am, with the final race kicking off at 3.40pm - with the final hosted shortly after.

Last year's event generated a £14,000 profit for the charity and this year is set to raise even more.

Samboomba entertaining the crowds at the Dragon Boat races in 2018 Picture: STEPHEN WALLERSamboomba entertaining the crowds at the Dragon Boat races in 2018 Picture: STEPHEN WALLER

On average it costs £2,500 to work with one child who has been sexually abused - to help that child rebuild their future and to take away the feelings of blame, shame and guilt.

The £14,000 raised last year helped the charity work with five children on their waiting list.

On Saturday crowds will also be able to enjoy face painting, sand play, fish and chips, ice cream, vegetarian concessions, a tombola and a hook a duck for the children.

Patsy Johnson-Cisse, fundraising manager for Fresh Start New Beginnings, said: "We are really grateful to Rebecca for entering the Dragon Boat Races and fundraising for us.

"We have a waiting list of children and young people who have disclosed sexual abuse and need our therapeutic services, so this money will go towards helping more people."

Each team will set out to raise £500 in sponsorship for the charity to go towards their specialist services.

A&S Recruitment has already exceeded its target, raising a total of £2,500 which will already be enough to fund one more child on the waiting list getting the help they so desperately need.

The following businesses will be taking part in the event.

- Scrutton Bland

- Crafted

- Trucks R US

- Clearfield

- Gilmour Piper Dragons

- Ensors

- Timberwolf

- St Jo's College

- Kersey

- Hudson signs

- A & S Recruitment

- ABP

- Larking Gowen

- Concertus

- Critical Care from the Hospital

- John Lewis

- S & P Ventilation

- The Floaters

- Fresh Start new beginnings

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