Dragon Boat fun proves really ‘oarsome’

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ROWERS had a whale of a time as they raced across a lake to raise money for worthy causes.

Thirty-three teams wearing fancy dress descended upon North Harbour for the annual Dragon Boat Festival.

The Portsmouth Dragon Boat Festival at 1000 Lakeside. Pictured is the Diabetes Research and Wellness foundation team, Hannah Browne bangs the drum''''Picture: Paul Jacobs  (131336-13)

The Portsmouth Dragon Boat Festival at 1000 Lakeside. Pictured is the Diabetes Research and Wellness foundation team, Hannah Browne bangs the drum''''Picture: Paul Jacobs (131336-13)

Participants paddled a 250m course from the eastern side of the lake to a finish line.

The event is organised by the Southsea Castle and Portsmouth and Southsea Rotary Clubs.

Money from the event goes to numerous charities including The Rowans Hospice, Vision Aid and sailing charity Around and Around.

King Richard School, in Paulsgrove, entered a team called ‘Water Babies’ who wore pyjamas.

They entered because they want to raise cash so children can go to Kenya and visit schools and orphanages.

They beat ‘Wykeham Magic’ from Wykeham House School, Fareham, who wore fairy wings, in their first race.

Sharlene Tyrrell’s two daughter’s Caitlin, 14, and Chantelle, 13, competed for King Richard.

Chantelle, who lives with her family in Tewkesbury Close, Paulsgrove, said: ‘It was hard work but definitely worth it.

‘It was tough paddling and keeping in time and finding the right rhythm.

‘The only practice we did was pretending to row on chairs in school.’

Connor Keirle, 19, captain of last year’s champions ‘Let’s Get Physical’, who work for EDF Energy, said: ‘It’s a brilliant family event.

‘We looked around and realised we had quite a lot of competition this year.

Two teams were on at a time and each took part in three races. Those with the fastest times on Saturday and Sunday took part in one final race at the end.

The winners were presented with a trophy and medals and there were medals for second and third place.

Last year more than £30,000 was raised and it’s hoped the same amount will be reached again. Co-organiser Mark Esbester said: ‘It’s a fantastic day out. It’s an opportunity to raise money for one of your favourite charities and have some fun at the same time.

‘Teams come back year after year to do it because they enjoy it.’

David Adams, captain of a Diabetes Research team, wanted to raise money for the charity because he has had Type 2 diabetes for 18 years.

‘The sun is out and everyone is here enjoying themselves,’ he said.

‘Everyone is doing this for a great cause.’