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First teams race to sign up for the 2015 East Anglian Dragon Boat Festival!

Following the launch of the East Anglian Dragon Boat Festival, companies, clubs and organisations from across the region are getting their teams together and signing up to take part in this hugely popular annual event. The East Anglian Dragon Boat Festival is returning to Nicholas Everitt Park, Oulton Broad in Lowestoft on Sunday 31st May after a gap of one year in aid of new Festival charity, East Coast Hospice, and the inter-company rivalry is already building!

One of the first teams to enter is Persimmon Homes Anglia based in Lowestoft and admin manager, Gillian Keiley is looking forward to helping East Coast Hospice and strengthening company relationships at the same time. Gillian comments, “Persimmon Homes Anglia have entered the challenge to primarily raise funds for East Coast Hospice. We hope that as many members of staff as possible will attend the event to support the Persimmon team – we find events like this help to strengthen and improve our team spirit and are an extremely enjoyable way of raising funds for very worthwhile local charities. As yet we have not finalised our team but the invitation to participate will be extended to all members of our team. The Anglia team is proud of its heritage and the reputation it holds as one of the Country’s leading house builders, offering properties built by skilled craftsman to exacting standards at affordable prices in a truly beautiful part of the country”.

Amongst three teams already entered into the event from Great Yarmouth is the Gold team from Seajacks who have enjoyed participating in the dragon boat racing before. They have chosen to enter a Gold team this year as it gives additional marketing benefits to the standard entry and includes a large donation to East Coast Hospice. Seajacks owns and operates four vessels in the offshore wind, oil and gas industries and employs 68 onshore and 250 offshore crew, many of whom have been with the company since its inception in 2007. Robyn Adams, Marketing Assistant, says, “As a company, supporting local events and charities is fundamental to our core values. We are proud to have supported the East Anglian Dragon Boat Festival for many years and we hope to keep supporting it amongst many other charitable events for the foreseeable future. Our crew is looking forward to having a fun day out and competing against other local companies for the top spot!”

Completing the trio of early entrants from Great Yarmouth are the team from Subsea Technology and Rentals (STR) who employ 38 staff and specialize in the design, production and rental of innovative marine survey equipment. Rachel Walsh, Marketing Co-ordinator says, “STR are always exploring fun and innovative ways to support local charities whilst encouraging team building and raising our company profile. Our crew will be made up of a mix of Engineers and Office Professionals and amongst us we number an Iron Man, Miss Great Yarmouth 2009, Yarmouth’s self-acclaimed prettiest male and I myself once lived in Cambridge so am an expert in boat racing! We will be raising sponsorship for East Coast Hospice and hope to take away a trophy and dry t-shirts!”

The East Anglian Dragon Boat Festival is one of the most eagerly anticipated team events in the region this year. Up to 40 crews representing companies, organisations, clubs and groups of friends from Lowestoft, Waveney and throughout East Anglia are expected to battle it out over the 200m race course on the Broad at Nicholas Everitt Park raising much-needed funds to build the first hospice in the area.

Exciting, colourful and great fun, no previous experience is required to enter a team of up to 11 people into the event, just plenty of team spirit and enthusiasm! The dragon boats, qualified helms and all racing equipment are provided and each crew is guaranteed a minimum of three races. The Festival, supported by The Lowestoft Journal, promises a fantastic day for competitors and spectators alike with street entertainment, funfair rides, inflatable activities and plenty of food and drink for all the family on the bankside.

The Great Yarmouth and Waveney area currently has no inpatient hospice care. Recognising this gaping hole in palliative care, the Festival’s official charity, East Coast Hospice (ECH), has purchased a five acre site near Beacon Park on the Hopton/Gorleston border and planning permission has been granted for a ten bed in-patient facility with complementary therapy rooms, day care and a peaceful garden. Margaret Chadd House will support patients and their families to live as well as they can for as long as they can and when the time comes, to support a dignified and peaceful journey at the end of life. The mammoth task of raising funds and building the hospice cannot be managed without support.

ECH Community Fundraiser, Jeff Wood, is hoping that as many local companies as possible will enter teams into the Dragon Boat Festival and raise sponsorship for this worthwhile local cause. He says “ECH are pleased to be a part of bringing back such a high-profile event to the people of Lowestoft and Waveney. It will be a wonderful day for colleagues, friends and families to get together and challenge themselves to racing a dragon boat. We really appreciate the continuing support of the community and local companies to help us ‘Raise the Roof’ of Margaret Chadd House, and we look forward to seeing you all there!”

For further information please visit www.dragonboatfestivals.co.uk/eastanglia or call Gable Events on 01780 470 718. To find out more about the work of East Coast Hospice call 01493 718707 or visit www.eastcoasthospice.co.uk

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