Dragon unleashed tomorrow

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The 11th Milton Keynes Dragon Boat Festival, organized by Gable Events in aid of Willen Hospice, will be showcased this Saturday with a full size 30’ Chinese dragon boat inside Midsummer Place shopping centre.

The 2012 Festival takes place at Willen Lake on Sunday, June 24 and has grown to become the largest one-day dragon boat event in the country and the city’s most successful team event.

Visitors to Midsummer Place will be able to view the ornate dragon boat with its beautifully painted dragon’s head and tail and find out more about Festival charity, Willen Hospice.

Shoppers will also be able to talk to representatives of Gable Events, Willen Hospice and supporter, Heart, about any aspect of the Festival including how to become a participating team.

Teams of up to 17 people are invited to paddle the magnificent Chinese dragon boats at Willen Lake on 24th June and 60 crews are expected to battle it out over the 200m race course, watched by several thousand spectators. Exciting, colourful and great fun, no previous experience is required, just plenty of team spirit and enthusiasm! The dragon boats and all racing equipment are provided and each crew is guaranteed a minimum of three races.

Hundreds of Milton Keynes-based companies and organisations have already experienced the motivational and team building benefits of dragon boat racing and this year’s event is already filling up fast. A large proportion of the entries are new teams each year and anyone can take part – the young and the old, the fit and the not so fit!

The Festival promises to be a fantastic day for competitors and spectators alike, with a race every ten minutes on the water and plenty of fun for all the family on the bankside. And with more than one prize on offer there really is something for every team to aim for. Trophies and bouquets will be presented to the top five crews, the best placed mixed crew (minimum 7 ladies), the ‘best dressed’ crew, the most enthusiastic crew and the crew raising the most money for Willen Hospice. The top fundraisers will also receive lunch in a private room with wine at popular pub, The Swan in Salford.

Willen Hospice is a charity which provides specialist palliative care and support for families in Milton Keynes and surrounding areas. “Our vision is to be the lasting and thriving provider of free care to all people affected by life limiting illness in our community.” In its essence, Always There to Care. The services that Willen Hospice provides are available 24 hours a day without any cost to the patient or their families, so why not accept the challenge and race in a dragon boat for them?

For further details and an entry form visit the display beside the main event area of the Boulevard (near Pret a Manger and Gap) inside Midsummer Place at any time between 9am and 6pm this Saturday, March 24, call Gable Events on 01780 470718 or visit the Festival website at www.dragonboatfestivals.co.uk/miltonkeynes