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A ship-shape Dragon Boat Festival

Teams set sail across Tilgate Lake as St Catherine’s Hospice annual Dragon Boat Festival burst onto the shores of Tilgate Park yesterday (4 September).

His Worshipful, the Mayor of Crawley, Councillor Raj Sharma officially opened the event as free entertainment including: traditional stalls and a Metrobus activity bus, where people had photographs taken in the drivers seat, drew crowds to cheer on more 28 corporate teams.

The Mayor also selected Elekta, a Crawley based company, who were dressed as pirates, as winners of the best fancy dress. He said: “Today has been lots of fun. It’s an opportunity for all in Crawley to have fun and participate but most importantly, to support a local charity.”

New record set

Teams showed true spirit and grit as they competed in a series of races in 40ft Chinese Dragon Boats but it was Beemer who found their sea legs to be crowned Dragon Boat champions 2016 and take away this year’s trophy, setting a new record time in 14 years of the Dragon Boat Festival of 01:00:32.

Darren Buche, crew captain of Beemer, a team representing a Three Bridges car dealership said: “We love supporting a local charity, it’s the third year we’ve supported this fine charity. We couldn’t be happier to be here.”

Coming in at second place was Harwoods from Crawley and taking third place was Search Consultancy from Crawley who also won best team name for ‘Usain Boat’. The winning teams were presented with medals by Henry Smith, MP and Giles Tomsett, St Catherine’s Chief Executive.

A great day out

St Catherine’s Dragon Boat Festival is one of the hospice’s biggest and liveliest fundraisers and over the years has become a firm favourite in the local community’s calendars. The festival, which is on target to raise £50,000, will help St Catherine’s to continue to provide vital end of life care for terminally ill people and their friends and family, across Sussex and Surrey.

Local businesses, Edwards Vacuum, Thermo Fisher Scientific, and Just Retirement proudly sponsored the Dragon Boat Festival. Peter Lamb, Senior Manager, Scientific Pump Technology, at Edwards Vacuum said: “St Catherine’s Dragon Boat Festival was an ideal chance for us to show our support for the valuable work St Catherine’s does to help people in our the local community. We were pleased to be a part of such a fun and vibrant event.”

Hospice thanks all those who took part

Laura Kelly, Corporate Fundraiser at St Catherine’s, said: “It was brilliant to see so many people come out to enjoy the day and cheer on our amazing corporate teams. We’d like to thank everyone who took part, volunteered, or attended for helping to support St Catherine’s.”

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