Heather Papworth, Team Support at Western Power Distribution, said:
“As a long term supporter of the hospice and the Dragon Boat Race we were delighted to sponsor the event again this year. Over the years the event has brought in thousands of pounds worth of much needed funds for the hospice and is an excellent occasion for local organisations like ours to get together for a good cause. We thoroughly enjoyed the day again this year and were thrilled to bring home bronze!”
The Shakespeare Hospice was hoping to raise a target of £25,000 for the hospice, but has exceeded this amount with over £30,000 raised so far with more donations and sponsorship still coming in for the teams who participated.
Over 400 people participated in the exhilarating and adrenaline infused race in long, narrow vessels decorated with ornately carved dragon's heads and tails. The crews, who sat in pairs and paddled to compete in multiple timed races over distances of around 250m, were accompanied by a drummer beating time to keep the paddlers in unison, and a professional helmsperson in the stern to guide the boat.
The 26 teams, including two from main sponsor Western Distribution Power, were from companies in and around Stratford, included Listers, SSP Worldwide, Benchmark, DoubleTree Hilton Stratford and Shakespeare Martineau. The Shakespeare Hospice also entered a team named The Purple Pirates.
Vinci Energies had a total eight teams from its different business units, including the winning team, the Twyver Tigers. In the spectacular final race, The Twyver Tigers fought it out with five other Dragon Boats and finished with a time of just over 70 seconds, only fractionally ahead of their colleagues, Actemium East Midlands and the other finalists who all finished within 71 seconds.
Sophie Harrison, fundraiser for The Shakespeare Hospice, said: “We’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who took part in this year’s race, and to all our volunteers, as well as Western Power Distribution and the Stratford Boat Club, who helped to stage a great event. All of the competitors threw themselves into it and the grand final was a real spectacle for the crowds as the six Dragon Boats, which was a record number to be racing against each other along the river Avon in the final, were only inches apart!”