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Dragon Boat Festival – a Boat Race with a difference…

Double Olympic gold medallist James Cracknell becomes the oldest man to represent one of the crews for this annual test of strength and stamina at the age of 46. If James has inspired you to take to the water and try something different this summer, get some colleagues or friends together and enter a team in the 18th Milton Keynes Dragon Boat Festival.

The Milton Keynes Dragon Boat Festival in aid of MacIntyre takes place at Willen Lake on June 23. There is plenty of time to get a team together and guarantee a place on the start line.

Unlike the University Boat Race crews who average 6ft 4 inches in height and 14 stone for the men and 5ft 10 inches and 11 stone for the women, you do. not need the physique of Sir Steve Redgrave or Dame Katherine Grainger to be successful.

Dragon boat racing caters for people of all shapes, sizes and levels of fitness. No previous experience is required to take part – just plenty of team spirit and enthusiasm.

Under the expert guidance of a qualified helm provided by organisers Gable Events, your crew of up to 11 people will soon be paddling in time and bonding together as you race towards the finish line over the 200-metre  race course.

Each team has three attempts to improve their race times with everyone having an equal chance of reaching the semi-finals. Over 40 crews are expected to battle it out and all will be seeking to knock Kuehne + Nagel’s ‘Brinklow Barbarians’ off their pedestal as reigning champions.

Based in Kiln Farm, Milton Keynes, ‘Calverton Capsizers’ representing Calverton Finance are regular entrants. Crew manager Tasha Cox explains why the Dragon Boat Festival is the first event to go into the staff calendar every year.

“We were first introduced to the Festival by a key client of ours six years ago and since then we have been hooked. We enter the Gold membership where a donation of £750 goes straight to the Festival charity.

“Our employees, friends and family get excited for this time of the year and, being as competitive as we are, we look to better our scores each time.

“Our ‘buzz’ for the race starts as soon as we sign up for the event and is a great talking point with many prospective clients. We do not have any hierarchy within Calverton and everyone gets involved, including our company directors.!”

All the entered teams are encouraged to raise sponsorship for MacIntyre, a national charity based in Milton Keynes that supports over 1,200 children, young people and adults who have a learning disability or autism.

As well as raising vital funds, the Dragon Boat Festival, supported by Business MK and MKFM, will provide the charity with an opportunity to raise its profile within the corporate sector and the wider community.

The top fundraisers for MacIntyre will win the Charity trophy plus a special prize meal, sponsored by Merinvest, at Melis Restaurant in Central Milton Keynes.

MacIntyre’s head of fundraising Claire Kennedy says: “We are proud to be Festival charity as we know what a fantastic event this is for everyone who takes part and their families and friends. Every penny raised will be used to benefit the people we support in the Milton Keynes area”. 

For further information and an entry form visit: www.dragonboatfestivals.co.uk/miltonkeynes or call Gable Events on 01780 470 718. For information about MacIntyre, visit www.macintyrecharity.org or call 01908 230100

  • Photo: Vanessa Barton Photography. 

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