Dragon boat racers ready to make waves in Chippenham

Wiltshire Times: Team North give their all in last year's dragon boat races in Monkton Park, Chippenham Team North give their all in last year's dragon boat races in Monkton Park, Chippenham

Monkton Park in Chippenham will soon be a hive of activity on and off land for two Rotary Club events.

The dragon boat races run alongside the Art in the Park fun day on Saturday, July 12, both from 10am to 4pm.

Crews of between 13 and 17 will race 250 metres along the River Avon, many in fancy dress.

Finishing first last year in one minute 9.08 seconds were Jemima’s Paddle Ducks from Chippenham Sailing Club, closely followed by Team North and the Ultrawarmers.

Caroline Attridge, of organisers Chippenham Wiltshire Vale Rotary Club, said: “Teams raise sponsorship money and in the five years it has been going, the event has raised more than £56,000 for charities and community groups.

“It’s a great team-building event and a lot of fun; teams that took part previously want to do it again.

"Tuition is given before the start of your first race, so there’s no experience required.”

There will also be food and a beer tent in Monkton Park.

So far 16 teams have entered, including one from Goughs solicitor’s six Wiltshire offices, who are raising money for Wiltshire Air Ambulance.

Team member Jonathan Shipton, who works for Goughs in Devizes, said: “The entries are up on 12 last year and it’s nice to see some new ones as well.”

The two Rotary events last year raised thousands of pounds for Dorothy House Hospice Care, the Royal United Hospital’s Forever Friends Appeal, Bowel Cancer UK and the Springboard Opportunity Group.

Entry is free to the Rotary Club of Chippenham’s Art in the Park, which offers the chance to get creative with arts and crafts.

Rotarian Roger Greenslade said: “It’s a great day for families. For the first time this year we’ll have a lorry trailer stage so we’ll be doing an open mic as well.”

The arts and crafts day was started seven years ago by the Chippenham Rotary Club’s first female president, Jane Kirby, who died of cancer aged 58 in 2012.

Last year’s mayor, Sylvia Gibson, was voted in as club president last week.

For more information on the dragon boat races, visit www.rotary-chippenham-wv.org.uk

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