Rain-delayed dragon boats finally hit the water
DRAGON boats will finally hit the water this weekend for the annual race – four months after the event was cancelled because of bad weather.
On Sunday, more than 25 teams will cram into 40-foot narrow boats with Chinese dragon heads, 16 to a boat, and row to the beat of a drummer.
The annual tournament, organised by the Rotary Club of Abingdon Vesper, is now in its 12th year and has raised more than £300,000 for charities in that time.
Club member David Wilde said: “We were very disappointed it couldn’t happen earlier in the year, and we are lucky we have the opportunity to rearrange it.
“We have a lot of charities we support who appreciate our contribution and would miss it if we couldn’t make it.
“We’re looking forward to blue skies and lots of people turning up, and we’re hoping to cheer up children who have to go back to school.”
The rowers set off from Abingdon bridge and race down the 250-metre course.
Teams will race each other in a number of heats throughout the day and the fastest teams will compete in the final.
The winning team will be presented with medals and a trophy in a prize-giving ceremony at the end of the day.
Each team has a target of £2,000 to raise for good causes, with one third of the money raised going to the Abingdon Vesper’s charity fund and two thirds to their nominated charity.
This year there is an additional challenge for each team to dress in costumes relating to countries taking part in the Olympics.
Chris Banks, 26, from Abingdon, entered last year and raised £1,300 for Cancer Research and Macmillan Cancer Support.
This year he is hoping to smash that target with his team of Italian-themed “space gondoliers” from ABSL space products in Culham.
He said: “We are all starting to get excited. We have full Italian costumes and we have been baking cakes to raise extra money.”
There will also be music, a fun fair, a craft tent, and a barbecue at the Rye meadow site.
The club will also be raising money with a bar and a tea tent.
The event starts at 10.30am and racing finishes at 5pm.
For more information, visit abingdondragonboats.org.uk