Hundreds stick their oar in to raise cash for good causes at boat race event

The Around and Around dragon boat.  Dragon boat race across the lake
The Around and Around dragon boat. Dragon boat race across the lake
Portsmouth Guildhall Picture: Garth Groombridge

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ARMED with paddles, hundreds of fundraisers took to the water to raise money in an annual dragon boat race.

The sound of drums boomed across the lake at 1000 Lakeside, in Cosham this weekend as 45 teams competed to make it across the lake in the fastest time.

Around and Around dragon boat team. Raising money for restoration of the Lively Lady.  Dragon boat race across the lake at 1000 Lakeside.

Around and Around dragon boat team. Raising money for restoration of the Lively Lady. Dragon boat race across the lake at 1000 Lakeside.

Dozens of paddlers raced across the water at the eighth dragon boat festival organised by the Portsmouth and Southsea Rotary Club.

The event was held to help raise funds for The Rowans Hospice, Naomi House children’s hospice, Polio Plus and Vision Aid Overseas.

Individual teams also raised money for their own charities during the event.

Pompey legend Linvoy Primus took up a paddle to raise money for Christian football charity Faith and Football.

He said: ‘For us it’s about getting people together to have a good time.

‘I’ve been really looking forward to it, as long as I don’t fall in.

‘I’ve never done anything like this before so I had a really good day.’

Festival organisers hope the weekend will have helped raise more than £40,000 for the various charities.

Mark Esbester, from the rotary club, said: ‘It went very well.

‘We had 15 teams on the first day and about 30 teams on the second day.

‘Everybody had a great time.’

Youngsters from the Portsmouth-based Around and Around sailing charity braved showers and fierce winds to raise around £2,000.

The cash will help fund their upcoming sailing trip aboard the vessel Lively Lady, organisaed by legendary sailor Alan Priddy.

Fundraiser Lauren Harris, 21, said: ‘It has been brilliant.

‘It’s really important we keep raising money because the summer is coming up and we want to start getting out on the water.

‘With the help of Whitely Rotary Club we’re hoping to raise loads of money today but we have a lot to do because we also want to restore our boat Lively Lady.

‘She is due to start her refit soon so it’s an exciting time.’