1,000 take to the water in dragon boat spectacular

Willen Lake hosted the 13th Milton Keynes Dragon Boat Festival in aid of a different local charity this year: Age UK Milton Keynes

More than 1,000 people took to the water in forty-foot long, brightly-painted Chinese boats, watched by thousands of spectators on Sunday. The event this year attracted 50 teams, racing five boats at a time, in what has become the largest one-day charity dragon boat event in the country!

Makita's Machines were crowned the winners of Milton Keynes Dragon Boat Festival

Makita's Machines were crowned the winners of Milton Keynes Dragon Boat Festival

The spectacular 200m races took place every 10 minutes throughout the day and there were plenty of activities on the bank and in the air to entertain crews and spectators, including a Battle of Britain flypast by a second world war Dakota plus funfair rides, large inflatables, face painters, mini golf, the high ropes course and miniature train.

The dragon boat crews represented local businesses and organisations throughout Milton Keynes and the surrounding area. Attached are details of the winners. First-time entrants and Silver crew, Makita UK, were eventual winners, beating Rexam Bev Can and Technip E & C Ltd (also first-time entrants) into second and third place in a closely fought final. Mixed champions were Winterhalter Ltd and charity champions were the Celestia Comets team from Kuehne + Nagel. The ‘best dressed’ team, in pirate costume, was Knorr-Bremse Rail Services. All the winning crews received trophies and floral bouquets courtesy of Ruth’s Floral Design Studio.

Kuehne + Nagel (Celestia Comets) also received a £300 voucher towards a prize meal, courtesy of The Swan at Salford, for raising the most money for Age UK Milton Keynes. It is estimated that more than £15,000 was raised for charity by the Festival with more money coming in.

Carol Lester of Festival organisers Gable Events said: “It is a testament to the continued popularity of this event that so many teams took part again this year, including many first-time entrants, two of whom came in the top three! It was fantastic to see so many people enjoying the racing in beautiful sunshine and participating in the activities on the banks of the lake. Five companies took up the option of our Gold and Silver sponsorship packages which not only increased their company profile at the event but also raised £3,250 for Age UK Milton Keynes.”

Age UK Milton Keynes has been working with and for older people in the local community for over 35 years – making a real and positive difference to their quality of life and wellbeing. Chief Executive Jane Palmer said: “This has been a fabulous event, raising vital funds to help us Milton Keynes Dragon Boat Festival in aid of a different local charity June. The event continue to support the thousands of older people who rely on us every year. As a local charity we appreciate the generosity of the Milton Keynes community; all money we raise in Milton Keynes stays in Milton Keynes.”

For further information on entering a team into the Festival in 2015, call organisers Gable Events on 01780 470718 or visit www.dragonboatfestivals.co.uk/miltonkeynes. To find out more about the work of Age UK Milton Keynes call 01908 550700 or visit www.ageukmiltonkeynes.org.uk