Racers ready for the Oulton Broad dragon boat festival

Last minute preparations are underway for one of the biggest charity fundraisers in the region.

The East Anglian Dragon Boat Festival is taking place at Oulton Broad in Lowestoft, this Sunday and is expected to raise thousands for East Anglia's Children's Hospices (EACH), the cause that cares for seriously ill children across the county.

A total of 25 teams have signed up to race. While the number of participants is slightly down on previous years, it is hoped that several thousand spectators will still turn out.

The annual event, now in its sixth year, is being held inside Nicholas Everitt Park and the racing will begin at 10.30am.

There is bound to be rivalry between the BBC Radio Norfolk and BBC Radio Suffolk teams as well as the Claxton Engineering team from Great Yarmouth, offshore drilling firm Fraser Offshore Ltd and reigning champions British Sugar.

There will be dragon boat races every 10 minutes and family activities including funfair rides, rock climbing, a rodeo bull and face painting.

At 11.30am students from Lowestoft's Venue of Performing Arts will take to the stage to showcase their talents and at 1.10pm - weather permitting - there will be a Battle of Britain flypast featuring a Lancaster Bomber.

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Carol Lester, director of festival organisers Gable Events, said: 'We had a Dakota flypast last year and that was so impressive which is why we've got the Lancaster this year. The Venue of Performing Arts always put on a fantastic performances and I'm sure that'll be a big draw. It's hard to say how many people come along but it's something like 5,000.'

The Grand Final race is expected to take place at 4.35pm, with medals being presented to the winning crews at 4.45pm.

For more information visit www.dragonboatfestivals.co.uk/eastanglia or call Gable Events on 01780 470718.

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