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Ipswich charity’s rallying call ahead of annual dragon boat race

PUBLISHED: 14:00 27 January 2020 | UPDATED: 14:00 27 January 2020

Fresh Start - New Beginnings is inviting entries to the Ipswich dragon boat race  Picture: STEPHEN WALLER

Fresh Start - New Beginnings is inviting entries to the Ipswich dragon boat race Picture: STEPHEN WALLER

Stephen Waller

An Ipswich charity aiding victims of child sexual abuse is calling on the community to take part in its “rip-roaring” dragon boat race.

L to R: Jerry Coleman harbour master, Jo Day from the Hudson group, Richard Lungly marine supervisor, Leanne Gittins from A&S, Linda Pipe, mariners manager and Hannah Walker from Fresh Start  - New Beginnings  Picture: CHARLOTTE BONDL to R: Jerry Coleman harbour master, Jo Day from the Hudson group, Richard Lungly marine supervisor, Leanne Gittins from A&S, Linda Pipe, mariners manager and Hannah Walker from Fresh Start - New Beginnings Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

The yearly race, organised by Fresh Start - New Beginnings, sees teams take to the water on Chinese-style dragon boats to raise vital funds for the charity.

Now in its third year, the race - which organisers have labelled as "rip-roaring fun" - will be expanded to fit 20 teams, with the groups set to battle it out at Ipswich waterfront on May 30.

Each team will race three times along Ipswich waterfront, complete with their own drummer and helmsman.

The charity currently works with 200 children in Suffolk and Norfolk, with a further 50 requiring help on their waiting list. It costs £2,500 to work with each child.

It is hoped the Ipswich dragon boat race will raise £15,000 for charity Fresh Start - New Beginnings  Picture: CHARLOTTE BONDIt is hoped the Ipswich dragon boat race will raise £15,000 for charity Fresh Start - New Beginnings Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

It is hoped the event will raise £15,000 to help reach six of the children needing their support.

Patsy Johnson-Cisse, fundraising manager for the charity, said: "We always look forward to our dragon boat race and this year we want to make it bigger and better than ever.

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"Child sexual abuse is one of the hardest things for a charity to raise money for.

The dragonboat race will return to Ipswich waterfront for the third time on May 30  Picture: CHARLOTTE BONDThe dragonboat race will return to Ipswich waterfront for the third time on May 30 Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

"It is an amazing way for the community to get together, all while fundraising for children who really need our help - and at the same time, it is such a good laugh.

"The more teams that sign up, the more people we can help."

The waterfront is set to be transformed on the day, with attractions, competitions and music set to run alongside - while all racers are treated to a free bacon sandwich from nearby Cult Cafe.

Last year, the Hudson Group came first in a "hilarious" final race.

Paul Ager, ABP Divisional Port Manager - East Coast, said: "We are thrilled to be helping this small children's charity, which is doing extraordinary work locally.

"Getting involved in the Dragon Boat Race is a fun part of our calendar, and our colleagues enjoy taking part and raising funds for this worthy cause . This is the third year of the dragon boat festival and we are looking forward to working with the organisers to make it bigger and better than ever."

For more information about the Dragon boat race, visit here or call Hannah on 01473 705111.

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