Dragons battle it out for top spot

IT WAS a nail-biting finish in the final of Sunday’s dragon boat races on Goldsworth Park Lake, with just hundredths of a second separating the three contestants.

The result – in favour of the Seymours estate agents team – was not revealed until the boats came ashore. Close behind were the Burns bathrooms company and then Natta builders and engineers.

The victorious Seymours team with their medals

The races, raising money for the Woking and Sam Beare Hospice charity, returned after a two-year break enforced by the coronavirus pandemic.

Seventeen teams of 12 to 16 took part on a day when it barely stopped raining. Friends and relatives supported the paddlers from the bank, along with members of the public, and enjoyed family fun attractions.

The Hospice Heroes about to head out on the lake

Each team competed in three heats, paddling the colourful boats across the lake with a team member beating out a rhythm on a drum, in a Southern China activity that dates back 2,000 years. The three teams with the fastest overall times went through to the final.

Medals and the champion’s trophy were presented by Sue Cook, the mother of the man in whose honour the races are held. Kris Cook died while taking part in the 2014 Prudential Ride London cycling event to raise money for the hospice charity.

Also present at the prizegiving was the managing director of event sponsors Trident Honda of Ottershaw, Richard Roberts, who also a hospice trustee.

The charity’s community events fundraising manager, Krista Lougher, commented: “It was a fantastic day despite the wet weather. We would like to thank all the teams who took part and are still raising money for us as they collect their sponsorship.

Stiltwalker Bonnie-Charlotte Parker entertaining spectators in her striking dragon costume

“Our gratitude also to the local community for braving the weather and coming out to enjoy the fun day and, of course, to all the staff and volunteers who help make these events possible. It was so good to be back after such a long break and we are looking forward to 2023.”

The proceeds of the event are still being calculated. The 2019 races raised more than £30,000 for the hospice, which equates to providing 350 hours of hospice care.

GET the 19 May edition of the News & Mail for a full picture spread of the event

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