People of Norfolk and Suffolk urged to join in Oulton Broad dragon boat race for hospice

A day of colour, competition and waterborne thrills is being promised this spring as Oulton Broad plays host to the seventh East Anglian Dragon Boat Festival – and teams are being invited to join the fun.

This year's festival – which takes place during the Chinese Year of the Dragon – has been organised for Sunday, May 27 with the proceeds going to help the event's new charity partner, St Elizabeth Hospice.

More than 30 crews representing businesses, organisations, clubs and groups of friends from all over East Anglia are expected to battle it out over the 200m course in front of a big crowd gathered in Nicholas Everitt Park.

They will all be seeking to topple the reigning champions, Expro North Sea from Great Yarmouth, while helping the event to add to its impressive fund-raising total of more than �100,000 over the years.

No previous experience is required to take part in the dragon boat racing. The boats, qualified helms and all racing equipment are provided and each crew is guaranteed a minimum of three races.


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The festival also offers a full day of entertainment on land as well as water with activities on the bankside for teams and spectators between races.

Carol Lester, director of festival organiser, Gable Events, said: 'The festival is a great chance for companies and organisations to try something completely different, promote themselves to a large local audience, network with local companies and potential clients and raise money for St Elizabeth Hospice. It's also a fantastic team building opportunity – what better way to get to know what makes your colleagues and competitors tick!? We expect it to be as popular as ever this time around so we recommend teams get their entries in early to guarantee a place.'

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St Elizabeth Hospice has been chosen as the festival's new official charity this year. The money raised by the event will fund its work helping people living with a progressive illness and supporting their families free of charge.

This year, it is expanding its services for patients in Waveney and Great Yarmouth.

Sara White, St Elizabeth Hospice's corporate fundraising manager, said: 'We're encouraging as many businesses as possible to take up the challenge and enter a team in this year's Dragon Boat Festival and raise sponsorship for St Elizabeth Hospice. By entering a team you will be helping us to raise awareness of the services we provide free of charge in the local area as well as raising funds which will help us to continue to provide these services in future.'

The event is supported by Waveney District Council, BBC Radio Suffolk and The Journal.

The team that raises the biggest sum for St Elizabeth Hospice will win the charity trophy, along with a full day of spa and gym use and a free lunch – all courtesy of the Marriott Sprowston Manor, near Norwich.

For more information or an entry form visit www.dragonboatfestivals.co.uk/eastanglia or call Gable Events on 01780 470 718. To find out more about St Elizabeth Hospice, call 01493 690990 or visit www.stelizabethhospice.org.uk

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