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Teams battle it out in first ever Fresh Start Charity Dragon Boat Challenge on Ipswich Waterfront

PUBLISHED: 09:30 03 June 2018 | UPDATED: 09:39 03 June 2018

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

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

© Stephen Waller

Eighteen teams battled it out on the water to be crowned the first ever winners of the Fresh Start Charity Dragon Boat Challenge.

Sue Gull, drummer for the Scrutton boat    Picture: STEPHEN WALLERSue Gull, drummer for the Scrutton boat Picture: STEPHEN WALLER

And at the end of the event, held on Saturday at Orwell Quay on the Ipswich Waterfront, the Ipswich Canoe Club were hailed the winning team.

But thanks to those taking part and the support of ABP, who hosted the festival, a total of £10,000 was raised for the charity which supports children who have been sexually abused,

The action started at 10.30am with the first race and ran through the rest of the day with the final taking place at 4pm.

It was frenetic as the teams lined up to take on each other in their gaily painted boats across the 200-metre course with people lining the route and supporting the event.

The Woodward Markwell team lose their dragon figure-head, in a collision with Gilmour Piper boat   Picture: STEPHEN WALLERThe Woodward Markwell team lose their dragon figure-head, in a collision with Gilmour Piper boat Picture: STEPHEN WALLER

Each boat consisted of 10 paddlers and one drummer with them racing across the water to beat each other in a splash of water and spray.

One of the races had to be re-run when two teams nearly crashed mid stream but that was the only setback on the day.

Teams came from a variety of businesses and organisations and included ABP Ports, Hudson, Ipswich Hospital Critical Care, Crafted Media, Attwells, N J Architects, Ipswich Outdoor Group, Carters, Scrutton Bland, Ensors, Woodward Markwell and John Lewis.

And around 80 classic Mini cars from the Ipswich and Suffolk Mini Owners Club (ISMOC) took part in a charity rally through the county, culminating in a display of the iconic vehicles on the Waterfront to link up with the festival.

Determination from ABP team members during one of the races   Picture: STEPHEN WALLERDetermination from ABP team members during one of the races Picture: STEPHEN WALLER

Patsy Johnson, fundraising and marketing manager at Fresh Start New Beginnings, said the event had been a great success and there were calls from those taking part for the festival to be run again next year.

“With the money that we have raised on the day it will help us to support four children who are on our waiting list and to help them rebuild their lives.

“A lot of the teams asked us if we are going to run the event again next year and we hope to do that.

“It’s the first dragon boat race on the Waterfront for about 30 years and a lot of the teams taking part said that they would enter two teams next year if we run it again.

A team from ABP at the Dragon Boat races, held adjacent to their Haven Marina offices    Picture: STEPHEN WALLERA team from ABP at the Dragon Boat races, held adjacent to their Haven Marina offices Picture: STEPHEN WALLER

“I have been delighted with the feedback as it’s really good and if we do it again it should be double the size of this year’s event.”

Patsy paid tribute to ABP for allowing them to organise the event and also to the 20 volunteers from the charity who gave up their time to help with the festival.

“We arrived here at 6.45am and it was chucking it down with rain and we thought it would be a bit of a wash out but the sun came out and everyone was in good spirits.

“It’s been a really, really good day like a good old fashioned day out and for us as such a small children’s charity we could not have dreamt of having a day like this and raising such an amazing amount of money and the feedback from the teams has been so positive,” she added.

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