Stick your oar in and help East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices!

‘East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices’ (EACH) is the official charity for the 2009 East Anglian Dragon Boat Festival and local companies and organisations are being urged to enter teams and help raise funds for this vital local cause. The Dragon Boat Festival takes place at Oulton Broad in Lowestoft on Sunday 10th May and there is still time to get a team together and join in the fun!

Amongst the companies who have already entered teams into the Festival this year from throughout East Anglia are Marriott Sprowston Manor, Morgan Ashurst (two teams), Great Yarmouth Power Station, Birketts LLP, Sizewell A, Venue of Performing Arts, Hoseasons, British Sugar (two teams), St John Housing Trust, Absolute Mechanical, SLP Engineering and the BP Valhall Redevelopment Project, Midwich Ltd, AKD Engineering, The Fishers Hotel, Expro North Sea, TRO, Virgin Money, NHS Great Yarmouth & Waveney and The Beach.

images credit – AK Event Photography

Each participating crew will be encouraged to raise cash through sponsorship for EACH with a special banquet at the China Diner restaurant in Lowestoft and a group gym session with personal trainer and light lunch at the Marriott Sprowston Manor in Norwich the reward for the team that raises the most. Last year’s Festival raised more than £30,000 for EACH and organisers, Gable Events, are hoping that this year’s event will achieve a similar fundraising total.

One of the local children currently being helped by EACH is Eloise Sharpe, who lives in Attleborough. At just a few weeks old, little Eloise was diagnosed with a rare congenital heart defect and a hole in her heart. Doctors didn’t know if she would survive without her ventilator, but she did, underwent open heart surgery and continues her brave fight as a one year-old. At diagnosis, the family were referred to East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices at Quidenham for end of life care.

Sharon, Eloise’s mum, said: “We cannot thank Quidenham enough for all the help they have given us. We spent an awful six weeks watching her every day and thinking she was going to die.
The EACH staff were great and organised a christening with food and balloons.”

Throughout this time, Quidenham have arranged for Ellie’s first trip out to Banham Zoo, with the support of two EACH nurses, given advice and support to her older brother’s school, offered the family counselling and allowed the family short break care. “We don’t know what the future holds for her but she is the happiest and most content of babies and we are such proud parents. If it wasn’t for the continued support of EACH, I dread to think how we would have coped, as we still do.”

East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices aims to maximise the quality of life for children with life-threatening conditions and complex healthcare needs and to support their families. Care and support is delivered in the family home or at one of the three hospices in Quidenham (Norfolk), Milton (Cambs) and Ipswich (Suffolk). Some children may only have a very short time to live, perhaps only weeks or months, others may reach early adulthood but EACH’s aim is always the same – to enhance their quality of life and support their family. This year it is anticipated that it will cost around £5.5 million to run all three hospice services – approximately 75% of this is required from voluntary donations.

Carl Brooks, Corporate Fundraiser for EACH comments: “The majority of EACH’s costs are not for specialist equipment but for delivering the specialist one-to-one nursing care and support so vital to local children and their families. Such intensive, personal care does not come cheap so fundraising and the goodwill of the public are therefore vital. That is why we are delighted to be the official charity for the Dragon Boat Festival”.

Exciting, colourful and great fun, no previous experience is required to take part in the dragon boat racing at Oulton Broad. The ornate 30’ Chinese dragon boats and all racing equipment are provided and each crew of up to 11 people is guaranteed a minimum of three races. As well as races every 10 minutes between 10am and 5pm, the Festival offers a wide array of family entertainments including fun fair, rock climbing, bungee run, human demolition, street entertainers, Chinese lion dance and the Beach patrol. There will also be a wide range of catering stalls and a bar where you can either celebrate your victory or drown your sorrows! The Festival has the full support of The Beach, Radio Norwich, Waveney District Council and Suffolk County Council Passenger Transport.

For more information and an entry form to make sure you are on the starting line for this spectacular local event contact Gable Events on 01780 470718

or visit the Festival website at

For more information on the vital work of East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices, please visit