Thousands flock to watch the thrilling action of Portsmouth's dragon boat festival
MERMAIDS, Vikings and pirates were among the hordes of fundraisers making a splash this weekend as a popular festival hit the water.
Thousands of people flocked to watch the Portsmouth Rotary Dragon Boat Festival spectacle yesterday.
Crowds cheered as 28 teams battled it out in a series of heats on the lake at Lakeside, North Harbour.
Heading out on to the water were Maddie Bone, 22, and her older sister, Jessica, 24, both of Farlington.
They were aiming to raise awareness of their mum Sarah Tutton’s charity, the Diabetes Research and Wellness Foundation, based on Hayling Island.
Although their team failed to make it into the thrilling six-boat final, Maddie said the day had been an amazing one.
‘It’s been a good family day,’ she said. ‘The support gets everyone hyped up. It’s great.’
Jessica said they raised £1,500 for their mum’s cause. She said: ‘This is a huge amount. The whole point of the charity is to look for a cure. This will really help.’
A team from Queen Alexandra Hospital – called the Neu-Row Mermaids – also took part, raising cash for brain injury charity, Headway.
Esther Brimacombe, a senior occupational therapist in QA’s stroke rehabilitation unit, said: ‘Headway are so supportive of our patients, their families and of us. They do a brilliant job.’
Taking the title this year were the Ramboll Vikings, with the Ocean Explorers once again scooping the top spot in the juniors’ category.
The event, staged by city Rotary clubs, is due to raise about £30,000 for good causes.
Carol Jenkinson is one of the organisers behind the bonanza.
She said: ‘This year has been our biggest one yet. It’s been amazing.’
Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Cllr Ken Ellcome, and Portsmouth North MP, Penny Mordaunt, presented the prizes.