Dragon boat race to return to Ipswich Waterfront this summer

Anthony Van-Damme, Mick Parker, Paul Ager from AGP and Mark Murphy at the dragon boat launch

Anthony Van-Damme, Mick Parker, Paul Ager from ABP and Mark Murphy at the dragon boat launch - Credit: Charlotte Bond

A popular charity dragon boat race is set to return to Ipswich Waterfront later this summer.

The annual Dragon Boat Race event, organised by child sexual abuse charity Fresh Start, New Beginnings (FSNB) sees dozens of rowers race along the marina in Chinese-style "dragon boats", complete with a drummer to help keep the rhythm.

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

The popular event sees dozens take to the water in dragon boats - Credit: Stephen Waller

This will be the third time the charity has hosted the event, which was cancelled last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

To celebrate its return, charity trustee Mick Parker and event supporter Mark Murphy of BBC Radio Suffolk, took to the water on dragon boats kindly supplied by local company "Dragon the Deben" on Monday.

FSNB managing director, Patsy Johnson-Cisse, thanked the Associated British Ports Ipswich (ABP) and local businesses for their support so far.

She said: “We are so excited to be welcoming our dragons back to Ipswich this year. 

"It is such a fun day out for everyone involved and the impact it makes on our services is just incredible. 

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"The last even raised £14,000, which is enough to enable us to provide therapeutic services to seven children that have been abused. 

Patsy charity founder. The dragon boat race is back at the Ipswich waterfront this year Picture: CH

Patsy Johnson-Cisse, managing director of Fresh Start, new beginnings (FSNB) - Credit: Charlotte Bond

"The impact this can make on them is indescribable, and it’s so important that people who fundraise for us understand what a difference their efforts can make.

"I really hope we can sell out and bring Ipswich alive with colour, music and laughter as our dragons take to the water!”

Each team is made up of 10 paddlers and one drummer, with entry per team set at £350.

The fun-packed event will take place in Ipswich in September

The fun-packed event will take place in Ipswich in September - Credit: Charlotte Bond

The last race, held in the summer of 2019, raised more than £14,000 for the Ipswich-based charity.

Local business Hudson Signs won the race that year and will be working hard to retain their title for a second year.

It costs the charity around £2,500 on average to provide care to a single child, helping to give them tailored therapeutic services to help them understand and overcome their trauma. It typically helps around 200 young people and their families each year.

The event is set to go ahead on Saturday, September 18.

Paul Ager, divisional port manager at ABP, said: “ABP welcomes the return of the Dragon Boat race this year, which is such a popular event for the local community and an important fundraising initiative for local charity, FSNB.”

More information on the event can be found here.

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