Perfect weather brings out hundreds to Ipswich Dragon Boat races

Dragon Boat Racing taking place at Ipswich Wet Dock. Picture: Danielle Booden

Dragon Boat Racing taking place at Ipswich Wet Dock - Credit: Danielle Booden

Perfect weather helped to bring out the crowds to give a massive boost to the return of the annual Ipswich Dragon Boat Races at the Waterfront on Saturday.

The event raised thousands of pounds for local charity Fresh Start new beginnings which offers help to those who have suffered from childhood abuse.

Crowds gathered to watch Dragon Boat Racing at Ipswich Wet Dock. Picture: Danielle Booden

Crowds gathered to watch Dragon Boat Racing at Ipswich Wet Dock. - Credit: Danielle Booden

Managing director of Fresh Start new beginnings Patsy Johnson-Cisse said the big crowds that had turned out had not only boosted its takings but has also been vital in raising the profile of the issue.

She said: "It has been fantastic. We have 22 teams taking part - and each team has 11 members. Then you add on all the people that have come along to help and support them - and then members of the public who have just wanted to see something different on a nice day. It is really very special.

Dragon Boat Racing taking place at Ipswich Wet Dock. Picture: Danielle Booden

One of the teams gets ready for the start at the Dragon Boat Racing at Ipswich Wet Dock - Credit: Danielle Booden

"We'd hoped to raise about £15,000 but we've already reached more than £21,000. That means we can help eight more children with specialist support."

But while the money was very important, the opportunity to raise the charity's profile was a huge bonus.

Patsy Johnson-Cisse

Patsy Johnson-Cisse of Fresh Start New Beginnings - Credit: Charlotte Bond

Patsy said:  "We've had people coming here today asking if we could go into schools or talk to other organisations and just get the message out there that we are here and ready to offer support.

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"Childhood abuse has been rather a taboo subject so the opportunity to get our message out there is very important."

Crowds gathered to watch Dragon Boat Racing at Ipswich Wet Dock. Picture: Danielle Booden

People lined the Waterfront quays to watch the action - Credit: Danielle Booden

Teams represented businesses and organisations from across the area and the whole event was sponsored by Ipswich Buses who sent along a double-decker specially decked out with advertising posters for the charity.

Staff and volunteers from Fresh Start New Beginnings at the Dragon Boat Racing at Ipswich Wet Dock.

Staff and volunteers from Fresh Start New Beginnings at the Dragon Boat Racing at Ipswich Wet Dock - Credit: Danielle Booden

Most participants managed to remain dry but safety teams were on hand to help anyone who did end up in the water.

Dragon Boat Racing taking place at Ipswich Wet Dock. Picture: Danielle Booden

Dragon Boat Racing taking place at Ipswich Wet Dock - Credit: Danielle Booden

The event was won by the George Baker Shipping team from Felixstowe with Ipswich Buses' team second and FTC Gym in  third place.

Dragon Boat Racing taking place at Ipswich Wet Dock. Picture: Danielle Booden

Action out on the water as teams prepare to race - Credit: Danielle Booden

But this was an event where everyone agreed that really important thing was taking part rather than the winning!

Dragon Boat Racing taking place at Ipswich Wet Dock. Picture: Danielle Booden

Dragon Boat Racing taking place at Ipswich Wet Dock - Credit: Danielle Booden