Teams wanted for oarsome Portsmouth festival on the water

City councillors paddle to victory as Nelson's Heroes at last year's dragon boat festival in Portsmouth Picture: Keith Woodland
City councillors paddle to victory as Nelson's Heroes at last year's dragon boat festival in Portsmouth Picture: Keith Woodland
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AN APPEAL for volunteers to join Portsmouth’s popular dragon boat racing festival is today roaring into action.

Organisers of the annual charity spectacle are on the hunt for teams of fundraisers to take part in the bonanza, which will take place on Sunday, May 13.

Taking place once again at 1000 Lakeside, North Harbour, in Cosham, the day will feature up to 27 teams battling for supremacy on the water.

Squads of 16 paddlers and one drummer will be blasting through the business park’s lake in an effort to notch up the quickest time and be crowned champion.

Carol Jenkinson is one of the organisers behind the event, which has this year been renamed the Portsmouth Rotary Dragon Boat Festival.

She said: ‘We are desperate for teams to come forward and join us. We’re hoping to make this year’s event bigger and better than ever before.’

Staged by Southsea Castle Rotary Club and Portsmouth and Southsea Rotary Club, the race is the perfect opportunity to raise cash for charity.

Last year saw 27 teams battling it out for victory in an event which organisers estimate generated at least £27,000 for good causes.

And this year, a particular effort is going out to get more youngsters involved in the festival.

Previous years have seen strong turnouts from local Scout Association groups.

Carol is hoping this will continue but is appealing for other teams, like cadets, youth groups and secondary schools, to join the fun.

‘We’re really hoping more youngsters will get involved this year,’ she said. ‘It’s a great event. People don’t realise just how much fun it can be.

‘Everyone gets full training before taking part. It’s just a really safe and fun day.’

On top of the dragon boat racing, there will be plenty for spectators to sink their teeth into.

Activities already on the cards include a laser quest arena, bouncy castles, and refreshment stands. There will be a licensed bar for adults to enjoy their favourite tipples.

Kicking-off at 10am, the festival is due to be opened by a performance from the nautical training corps band of TS Tenacity.

Teams will race in three heats to record their fastest time, with a grand finale expected to take place at about 4pm.

For details on how to join, see portsdragonboatfestival.co.uk

Teams of youngsters need to be aged between 12 and 16.