Dragon boat on display in Norwich today

Embracing the current Norwich Dragon Festival, organisers of the sixth East Anglian Dragon Boat Festival are launching this year's event by holding a unique exhibition in the city today.

A colourful Chinese dragon boat displayed in The Mall shopping centre till 6pm this evening is part of the event which is raising money for East Anglia's Children's Hospices (EACH).

Organisers of the Boat Festival, Gable Events, have the 30 foot boat on display in St Johns Place adjacent to Argos and New Look to drum up interest for the up coming Chinese Dragon Boat Festival, which takes place at Oulton Broad, Lowestoft on Sunday, May 8.

Matt Searle, event manager of Gable Events, said: 'It is something different. Anyone can do it and you don't have to be a sportsman or have done it before.'

The Boat Festival draws teams from all over East Anglia and visitors to today's exhibition, as well as being able to view the dragon boat, will be able to talk to staff about any aspect of the festival, including how to enter a team.

Steve Kingston-Miles, 41, and his daughter Willow, 6, of New Road in Hethersett were keen to get involved.

Mr Kingston-Miles, who is planning to register a team, said: 'It wont be to hard to get a team together as everyone will wants to get involved'.

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Willow added: 'The boat is very big. I like the dragon on the front as it's tall and big too'.

There is also information about EACH on display, which is the festival's nominated charity.

Mr Searle explained: 'Although we support EACH, teams are welcome to pick their own charity to raise money for. We think EACH is an important charity for the area'.

Danielle Gravestock, corporate fundraiser at EACH, said: 'The money raised through the generosity of the teams taking part in the Dragon Boat Festival is very important to us and will go towards the one-to-one nursing care and support that is so vital to life-threatened local children and their families'.

The top fund raisers for EACH will win the charity trophy plus a full day of spa, gym use and lunch, donated by the Marriott Sprowston Manor in Norwich.

For more information visit www.dragonboatfestivals.co.uk/eastanglia or call Gable Events on 01780 470 718.

Are you taking part in a fundraiser this year? Contact reporter Donna-Louise Bishop at donna-louise.bishop@archant.co.uk or call 01603 772438.