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The Cambridge Dragon Boat Festival – a boat race with a difference

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The 15th Cambridge Dragon Boat Festival, in aid of Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust (ACT), takes place on the River Cam at Fen Ditton on Saturday, September 7.

All eyes will be on the River Thames between Putney and Mortlake this Sunday for the Oxford v Cambridge University Boat Race, when 46-year-old double Olympic gold medallist James Cracknell becomes the oldest man to represent one of the crews for this annual test of strength and stamina.

Unlike the University Boat Race crews who average 6’ 4” and 14 stone for the men and 5’ 10” and 11 stone for the women, you don’t need the physique of Sir Steve Redgrave or Dame Katherine Grainger to be successful as 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, crews of up to 11 people will bond together over the 200m race course.

Each team gets three attempts to improve their race times with everyone having an equal chance of reaching the semi-finals.

More than 40 crews are expected to battle it out and all will be seeking to knock CMR Surgical off their pedestal as reigning champions.

Sitec Infrastructure Services from Waterbeach have entered the Dragon Boat Festival for the last two years, achieving third place both times and crew manager, Taryn Caleno, had this to say about the event: “We are always so busy as a company with a number of different teams working for separate clients and types of work.

"We find it difficult to fit traditional team building away days into our schedule, so the Dragon Boat Festival is a great opportunity to link in our social side with an element of team building too.”

Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust is the only charity dedicated to making a difference for patients at Addenbrooke’s and the Rosie Hospitals and Emily Willdigg, ACT’s events lead is looking forward to building on the success of last year’s event: “We hope that businesses will support our much-loved hospitals by getting a team together.

"With the help of many generous supporters, we can provide funds so that our local hospitals can offer the very best care day after day, year after year.”

The Festival, supported by the Cambridge Independent, promises a fantastic day for competitors and spectators alike with Chinese-themed entertainment, children’s rides, inflatable activities and plenty of food and drink for all the family on the bankside.

The team raising the most money for ACT will be awarded the charity trophy and enjoy a fabulous prize group experience at Cambridge Escape Rooms.

For further information and an entry form, call Gable Events on 01780 470718, or visit dragonboatfestivals.co.uk/cambridge.

To find out more about the vital work of Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust, call Emily Willdigg on 01223 217757, or visit act4addenbrookes.org.uk.

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