IT MAY be just a bit of fun but landlord Giles Babb and his team from the Bluebell Inn take Emsworth’s Dragon Boat race very seriously.
Last year The Bluebell Pirates were just pipped to the post by a team from Emsworth Sailing.
So this time round Mr Babb and his team are desperate to win – and are even losing weight in a bid to make them go quicker.
He said: ‘The Sailing Club team has a lot of experience but I think the only reason they won was because they were lighter than us.
‘It spurred me and the rest of the team to go on diets and I’ve lost two stone so far.
‘I reckon we’ll do it this time. It’s all good fun.’
This year’s Dragon Boat race takes place on Sunday, April 29. It has been brought forward to be part of the week-long St George celebrations in the town.
Events begin on Monday with a parade in The Square by 70 soldiers from Thorney Island’s 47 Regiment.
Lt Col Matthew Crisp, Commanding Officer 47th Regiment, said: ‘It is an honour for the regiment to play such a prominent part in St George’s Day celebrations which I hope reflects our pivotal role in the local community.
‘What is clear is that the people of Emsworth provide tremendous support to us and are key to sustaining the morale of our soldiers and their families during demanding ongoing operations.’
The regiment will be joined by veterans with each being presented with the Emsworth Rose flower by Councillor Ken Smith, the Mayor of Havant, to mark the occasion.
· April 23, 10.30am: Military parade in The Square
7pm: Fundraising curry for Royal Artillery Charitable Fund at Spice Village
· April 25, 3pm: Traditional afternoon tea at The Deck cafe, Emsworth Yacht Harbour
7pm Quiz night at the Brookfield Hotel
7.30pm – Sea shanties at Emsworth Sailing Club.
· April 28, 7.30pm – St James Church proms with music by Elgar
· April 29, 9am: Dragon Boat Race at Mill Pond