Vikings and pirates were among hundreds of thrill seekers taking to the water on Sunday at the record breaking KM Dragon Boat Race.
The flagship event of the KM Charity Team attracted 60 teams, blowing last year’s figure of 50 out of the water. Participants raised a staggering £100,000 for good causes across the county including Young Kent, whose team donned Viking outfits, and a gang of pirates supporting the Oliver Fisher Special Care Baby Trust.
Other charities set to benefit include Motor Neurone Disease Association East Kent, Guide Dogs Medway, Porchlight, and Kent Air Ambulance.
Teams used paddle power to complete the 200m course at Mote Park, Maidstone cheered on by hundreds of friends, families, and well wishers on the waterside. Each boat housed 10 paddlers plus one crew member beating a drum to set the pace. Teams took on three races each in the blazing sun and the competition final saw the eight fastest dragon boats battle for victory.
Reigning champs Blatch and Green were unstoppable taking the top spot for the sixth year in a row followed by Abigail’s Footsteps Team C in second place. Macmillan-supporting All Type came third and Shock and Oar, participating in aid of Ronald McDonald House Charities, took fourth place.
The Blatch and Green team collected the champions’ trophy and medals to add to their collection presented by event organiser Dominic Comins.
Crew member Whitstable-based Rich Blatchford from Blatch and Green said: “It’s been a great day, it’s always great fun.”
The event was run in partnership between the KM Charity Team and headline sponsors Kent Reliance for the third year running with support from Barclays and event hosts Race the Dragon.
Nimisha Cross, PR manager for Kent Reliance, said: “We have always been at the heart of the community and events such as the KM Dragon Boat Race are always popular with staff as it gives them an opportunity to have a great day out whilst raising money for charity. It was amazing to see such a great turnout and the weather was definitely on our side. We look forward to building on this success next year.”
Event organiser Dominic Comins of the KM Charity Team said: “The KM Dragon Boat Race is always a crowd pleaser with incredible amounts of money raised for charity. But we are thrilled with this year’s record number of participants and fantastic atmosphere. Crews gave it their all and the park was packed with visitors soaking up the spectacle and beautiful weather.”
He added: “I’d especially like to thank Kent Reliance for all their wonderful support in putting on this fantastic event and congratulate their team who raised funds for their charity of the year Demelza Children’s Hospice.”
The KM Dragon Boat Race is a regular fixture of the summer and organisations interesting in getting involved with next year’s event should contact Mr Comins at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 0844 264 0291.
For the full list of race times, click HERE.