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Despite arriving at Manvers Lake on Saturday 12th August to be greeted by grey and windy weather, this didn’t dampen anyone’s spirits! All teams were ready and raring to go, with separate huddles of groups discussing their winning tactics – or so they say! As I looked around the venue all I could see were happy faces (regardless of the weather). It was obvious to me that all who were taking part were delighted to be doing so.

There was so much going on at this event with people everywhere, stands and music playing throughout the day. The atmosphere was perfect for everyone, children were dancing around to the pop songs played, and, for the adults, a prosecco tent – a very enticing stand I believe. It was an event suitable for all the family, which was definitely evident with the amount of families present to show their support.

Teaming up with Thetford, we were both new to this sort of event. With none of the team having participated in dragon boat racing before, I could see that nerves were starting to show before the first heat. The nerves of the team were buoyed by a strong desire to win; the competition was definitely on!

As the heats were taking place, all that echoed through the lake were the chants of all the supporters. It wasn’t just families of the teams who attended the event, but also the local community. I was thrilled to see such a large turn out to help raise money for Bluebell Wood Hospice. These types of events are crucial to keep Bluebell Wood running the way it currently does.

Speaking to some of the team after their race I could see that their t-shirts were drenched with the freezing cold lake water! That being said, all of the team stated that they had lots of fun, the only problem… their racing strategy. As I observed on the side-line, the team were clearly not in sync, their paddles were going in opposite directions, and water was spraying everywhere (explaining why they were soaked through afterwards). But, it was the taking part which was the most important, and, what mattered was that everyone in the team enjoyed themselves.

Although we weren’t victorious in our racing efforts, we all had a fun day and would definitely do it again. Watch out Thetford, we will be forming an Industrial Personnel team for next time (hopefully with a better winning strategy). Bring on next year’s race!

If you think that you would be able to form a team to take on this fun challenge in 2018, keep an eye out for it on The more the merrier!

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