Dragon boat races help hospice children

Hundreds of people rowed for all they were worth to raise thousands of pounds for East Anglian hospices at the weekend. Dragons flew across the water to the beating of drums, while on shore Chinese lion dancers kept the spectators entertained.

Hundreds of people rowed for all they were worth to raise thousands of pounds for East Anglia's Children's Hospices (Each) at the weekend.

Dragons flew across the water to the beating of drums, while on the shore Chinese lion dancers kept the spectators entertained. It was all part of the region's second dragon boat festival, held for the first time at Oulton Broad, near Lowestoft.

By the end of the weekend, the event had raised more than £17,000, with more to come. It has already smashed last year's total of £14,000.

The 30ft boats were rowed by teams of 10, plus a drummer and a steerer.

The dragons' heads and tails at either end are a Chinese tradition dating back more than 2,000 years to the death of warrior poet Qu Yuan. After throwing himself in the river, local fishermen rowed out to try to save him. Every year in Hong King a dragon boat festival commemorates the event, with the dragon heads added to ward off evil spirits.

The fastest of all 34 teams was Broadland Holiday Village Social Club, one of two teams entered by Broadland Holiday Village, who won a banquet from the Malaysian Delights restaurant in Norwich.

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In second and third place were last year's winners Faber Toothed Tigers, from Faber Scaffolding, and Brenda's Boys, from Sizewell A power station. There was even a prize for last-placed CVS (UK) - use of the gym at the Marriott Sprowston Manor hotel.

The prize for best dressed team went to Utec Kings, from Utec Survey, who were dressed as Elvis, while Amec Design and Project Services raised the most money for Each.

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