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Rowers do battle in Dragon race

PUBLISHED: 09:00 07 May 2010 | UPDATED: 09:40 01 August 2010

HUNDREDS of rowers will take to the waters of Oulton Broad on Sunday to do battle in the fifth East Anglian Dragon Boat Festival - and help raise thousands of pounds for seriously ill children.

HUNDREDS of rowers will take to the waters of Oulton Broad on Sunday to do battle in the fifth East Anglian Dragon Boat Festival - and help raise thousands of pounds for seriously ill children.

More than 30 crews representing businesses and organisations from all over East Anglia will be racing the brightly-painted 30ft Chinese dragon boats over a 200m course alongside Nicholas Everitt Park.

All proceeds from the day will go to the East Anglian Children's Hospices (EACH).

Among those taking part will be teams from Sizewell A power station, Hoseasons, and festival media partner, BBC Radio Suffolk, with presenters, Rob Dunger, Mark Murphy, Lesley Dolphin and Steph Mack all swapping microphones for paddles.

Trophies will be presented to the top three crews, the best-placed mixed crew and the 'best dressed' crew. The team that raises the most money for EACH will be awarded use of the gym and spa, plus lunch, at the Marriott Sprowston Manor near Norwich.

Carol Lester, director of festival organisers, Gable Events, said: “After the fantastic weather we had last year, we are expecting another large audience to come on the day… We have received great support this year from BBC Suffolk, The Lowestoft Journal and Waveney District Council and we are sure that the teams and spectators alike will enjoy a superb day out this Sunday”.

As well as races every 10 minutes between 10am-4pm, there will be plenty of family entertainment in the park including an inflatable climbing wall, a rodeo bull, a human demolition game and funfair rides.

In keeping with the Chinese history of dragon boat racing, the Wing Chun Kung Fu group will be performing a colourful lion dance at 12 noon and 2pm and students from the Lowestoft-based Venue of Performing Arts will be performing at 11am, 1pm and 3pm. To mark the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain there will also be a flypast at around noon by a Dakota of the Memorial Flight.

The Everitt Park café will be open and there will also be stalls offering a hog roast, and a range of snacks and refreshments. Satalight

Carl Brooks, corporate fundraiser for EACH, said: “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 Dragon Boat Festival's official charity once again and that so many teams have signed up to take part”.

Entrance to the Festival is free and there is plenty of parking available off Marsh Road (which will be clearly signposted), courtesy of Broadview Caravan Site with all proceeds going to EACH. Pay and display parking is also available at Nicholas Everitt Park.

For more information, call Gable Events on 01780 470718 or visit the festival website at www.dragonboatfestivals.co.uk/eastanglia.

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