Dragon boat

Companies, clubs and organisations from across the region have been getting their teams together and signing up to take part in this year’s eagerly anticipated East Anglian Dragon Boat Festival which takes place on Oulton Broad in Lowestoft on Sunday 14th May in aid of East Coast Hospice. And there’s plenty of time to raise a team and get involved!  

Who’s entered so far?

The participating teams come from all corners of East Anglia, most have never sat in a dragon boat before and all will be aiming to knock digital agency NetMatters off their pedestal as reigning champions whilst raising much-needed funds for East Coast Hospice. The early Festival entrants include Grosvenor Casino of Great Yarmouth, Progress Recruitment Solutions of Norwich, James Fisher Marine Services (Gold crew), Associated British Ports (Silver crew), Bourne Leisure-Gunton Hall and Lovewell Blake of Lowestoft as well as a team representing Festival charity East Coast Hospice.

What the teams say…

James Fisher Marine Services have entered the dragon boat race as they have a large presence in East Anglia and it is where many of their projects and people are based. Established in 1847, the company has transformed from a traditional shipping company into a leading provider of marine and specialist technical services worldwide. Corrine Barry, Group Sales Executive says, “We wanted to celebrate with a fun team building day and to give back to the community that has served us so well. As gold sponsors we have ensured that a sizeable amount of our entry fee is going towards the Festival’s charity, East Coast Hospice. Everything we do at JFMS is a team effort so we felt it was only right that we had a good mix of people entering the dragon boat race too! So far we have directors to engineers, sales personnel and administration employees making up the team”. Corrine admits the whole team has high aspirations for this year’s event adding, “We are excited to get involved and are in it to win it!”

One of the teams the JFMS crew will be up against this year is the returning crew representing The Grosvenor Casino from Great Yarmouth. People Services Manager, Adrian Cousens is keen to improve on their performance last time out.  Adrian comments, “We loved every minute of the racing last year but were terrible. We came last and were even beaten by the team who sank! Hence the name for this year’s boat ‘Last place or Drown’! We participate as a team bonding session, to raise money for charity and to put right the common misconception that Casinos are like you see on film. The Casino not only offers the gaming but we also have bars and a restaurant, live music events and garden parties. Our group of ‘athletes’ come from all departments, including myself and other managers. If you would like to come and see us in our strict training camp we would be pleased to see you!”

Dragon boat

Festival charity – East Coast Hospice

Hospices play a key role in providing support and care to people with incurable illnesses as well as their family and friends. At present there are no inpatient hospices in the Waveney and Yarmouth area but East Coast Hospice plans to change this. Their vision is to provide an independent local Hospice that delivers expert medical care alongside compassion, dignity, love and peace for those with life-limiting conditions. They aim to support patients and their families to live as well as they can for as long as they can and when the time comes; to support a dignified ending to their life.

How to join in

To take part in the dragon boat racing and help ‘Raise the Roof’ of East Coast Hospice, no previous experience is required, just plenty of team spirit and enthusiasm! The dragon boats, qualified helms and all racing equipment are provided and each crew is guaranteed a minimum of three races. The Festival promises a fantastic day for competitors and spectators alike with street entertainment, funfair rides, inflatable activities and plenty of food and drink for all the family on the bankside at Oulton Broad.

For further information and an entry form please visit 

www.dragonboatfestivals.co.uk/eastanglia or call Gable Events on 01780 470718. To find out more about the services of East Coast Hospice call 01493 718707 or visit www.eastcoasthospice.org.uk

Images – Dragon boat racing at previous East Anglian Dragon Boat Festivals, courtesy Vanessa Barton Photography


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