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Roar goes up as Dragon boats take to the water
DRAGON boat team members gritted their teeth and paddled through the pain barrier in a race along the River Thames yesterday.
More than 2,000 spectators enjoyed the morning sunshine, then ignored the rain, to cheer on those taking part in the annual Dragon Boat Race, organised by the Rotary Club of Abingdon Vesper at Rye Farm Meadow, Abingdon.
There were 16 teams in the 40ft boats, who paddled along to the beat of a drummer – all to raise thousands of pounds for charity.
The annual race is now in its 13th year and has so far raised almost £400,000 for local and international charities.
Carol Hall, from the Abindgon Vesper Rotary Club, said: “It went very well in spite of a few spots of rain. There was a great atmosphere. There always is.”
Sue Lynn was the drummer for the Wittenham Wannabees, a team raising cash for Young Dementia UK, Clifton Hampden Scouts, and Footsteps. Her team won the competition.
The 56-year-old, from Sutton Courtenay, said: “Lots of people were there to support us. It’s great to get the trophy in our hands.”
Fellow team member Sally Duff, 55, from Long Wittenham, said: “It was brilliant. All tremendous fun.
“It brought out the competitive spirit in everyone.”
Helen Hunt, 43, took part as a member of Team Oxford Health, who were raising money for the mental health charity Oxfordshire Mind.
The urgent care nurse from Cumnor said: “It was the first time we have done this and it was fun.”
Andy McNamara, 36, from South Oxford, took part as a member of Space Cadets, a team from Abingdon-based space product company ABSL.
He said: “It was fantastic for everyone to get together, work together and have a fun time raising money for charity.”
Spectator and Abingdon mum-of-two Penny Pizzey said: “We just like to get out and do something for the little ones. It is nice to support things out on your doorstep.”
The race last year was delayed for four months because of wet weather, but it eventually went ahead in September.
David Wilde, from the Rotary Club, said: “There were a lot of people on the riverbank – and there was a long queue for the barbecue. That’s what we like to see.”
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