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Newark Dragon Boat Festival attracts hundreds of people in day of competition and entertainment Riverside Park for Children's Bereavement Centre and Beaumond House Hospice Care



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Hundreds of people gathered at Riverside Park for the Newark Dragon Boat Festival 2021 on Sunday.

Having missed out on the thrilling and competitive day in 2020 due to coronavirus, this year's event saw only smiling faces and an overwhelming energy and excitement for getting back into the community.

Talking to teams throughout the day, no one seemed to care about winning the race — the real aim of the day was to raise as much money as possible for two Newark-based charities, which do wonders for people in the area.

Newark Dragon Boat Festival.
Newark Dragon Boat Festival.

The festival, organised by the Children's Bereavement Centre and Beaumond House Hospice Care, saw 33 teams in fancy dress from businesses and charities compete in a series of dragon boat races.

Teams included Blueprint Gaming (Watery Doing Here) — winners of the debut festival held in 2019 — Royal Mail (First Class Flyers and Special Delivery), Ambitions Personnel (Hire and Fire), Bakkavor (Custard Tarts and Rownuts), Barcode Warehouse, Team Knowhow, Gusto Group (Gusto Gladiators), the Blue Team (Conservatives) and Newark Town FC.

Post lady Charlotte Holland, of Royal Mail, said: "I have had quite a lot to do with the Children's Bereavement Centre because I lost my sister and my niece and nephew used the service.

Newark Dragon Boat Festival.
Newark Dragon Boat Festival.

"It is also nice for Royal Mail to get involved in something as a team. This was our first year doing the race and we're looking to do every year now."

Bakkavor's Kerry Rigby said the company had two boats take part in 2019 and, this year, entered the Custard Tarts (girls) and Rownuts (boys) — names based on popular desserts they make at work.

"We have always supported the bereavement centre and Beaumond House, but the event is definitely something for the community as well," she said.

"It is also a way of getting the team out again after the last 18 months, which have been hard."

Liberty & Honey team at Newark Dragon Boat Festival.
Liberty & Honey team at Newark Dragon Boat Festival.

Emma Beaumont, of Barcode Warehouse, entered the team for second year — this time in memory of a much-loved co-worker who died this year.

"We are doing this in memory of Bethan, which is actually quite emotional for all of us," she said. "The Children's Bereavement Centre is also our chosen charity and we will always support them."

Another team was made up of workers from Gusto Group and Rototech, both of Steff Wright's Gusto Group Ltd, all of whom were sporting wild and colourful wigs.

Left to right: Tammy Thomas and Olivia Braddord of Children's Bereavement Centre.
Left to right: Tammy Thomas and Olivia Braddord of Children's Bereavement Centre.

Rototech's Matt Dale said Steff wanted to get the workers down for a team-building exercise.

He said: "It is amazing to support these charities with all profits going to them. We will be doing it every year."

Steff added: "We are supporting a great event in Newark and it has been such a fun day.

"We (Gusto Group) try to do a bit, the Gusto Community Fund gets involved in a lot of local community projects. Supporting the bereavement centre and Beaumond House is a must.

"It is also a great opportunity for the boys to get their wigs on, which they all love so much."

Terry and Sally Worth, dancing at Newark Dragon Boat Festival.
Terry and Sally Worth, dancing at Newark Dragon Boat Festival.

Mandy Watson, of Ambitions Personnel, had a team made up from the company's Newark, Lincoln and Grantham branches.

"It is great fun and you're raising money for charity," she said. "We will doing it again next year."

Newark Dragon Boat Festival.
Newark Dragon Boat Festival.

Louise Withers, of Blueprint Gaming said: "We like to raise money for the charities anyway but wanted to get involved again this year after winning in 2019.

"It's great for everyone to work together."

Beth Briggs-Price with Remy Briggs-Price, 5, of Newark Dragon Boat Festival.
Beth Briggs-Price with Remy Briggs-Price, 5, of Newark Dragon Boat Festival.

Winners of the day were Newark Town FC — who put on a champagne-spraying celebration on the main stage — followed by Team Knowhow in second place, and the Blue Team in bronze position.

The debut festival in 2019 raised £28,000 shared by the two charities and it is hoped that Sunday’s event will top that.

Head of fundraising and marketing at Beaumond House Catheryn Lowe said she was totally overwhelmed by the show of support from the community.

Newark Dragon Boat Festival.
Newark Dragon Boat Festival.

“To stand on the stage at the start and see crowds of people coming out after such a long time was absolutely fantastic,” she said.

“The venue lends itself beautifully to a community event and there was a great atmosphere with people both paddling or just there for a day out.

The winning team, Newark Town FC, celebrating.
The winning team, Newark Town FC, celebrating.

“Hopefully everybody who came got something out of the day. A massive thank you to everybody – the volunteers, the teams, the sponsors and the public for making the day such a wonderful success.”

Rachel Wilson, Children’s Bereavement Centre fundraising and marketing manager, said: “There are not enough words to say how much we appreciate the support we received for this year’s Dragon Boat Festival.

Silver medal winners Team Knowhow.
Silver medal winners Team Knowhow.

“To see the local community come together in such numbers was uplifting and inspiring. To the teams taking part in the racing and all their hard work raising funds, the food stalls and children’s activities who worked tirelessly all day, the volunteers that give up their valuable time, the sponsors and the very talented array of entertainers that kept us all entertained on stage, a heartfelt thank you. Even the weather was kind.

"The event was a huge success, and we can’t wait for next year.”

Bronze medal winners The Blue Team.
Bronze medal winners The Blue Team.

Newark Town FC's first team are at home this Wednesday at 7.45pm and Saturday at 3pm at the YMCA. All are welcome. Adults £3, concessions £2.

The event was sponsored by Ringrose Law Solicitors, G. M. Steel Ltd of Newark (formerly Abachem) and Gusto Group of Collingham, who all had teams taking part.

Envelopes sponsored the Team Village and Blueprint Gaming sponsored the medals which were presented to each competitor. Newark College sponsored a climbing wall at the event.

Fancy taking part next year? Contact Catheryn at cathy.lowe@beaumondhouse.co.uk or Rachel at

rachel@childrensbereavementcentre.co.uk

Left to right: Joe Hibbert, Lucinda Harrison, Derek Harrison and Julie Harrison, of Newark, at Newark Dragon Boat Festival.
Left to right: Joe Hibbert, Lucinda Harrison, Derek Harrison and Julie Harrison, of Newark, at Newark Dragon Boat Festival.
Team Knowhow team at Newark Dragon Boat Festival.
Team Knowhow team at Newark Dragon Boat Festival.
Newark Dragon Boat Festival.
Newark Dragon Boat Festival.
Left to right: Aeluna Checkley, 5, Gemma Evison, George Evison, 6, Dominic Checkley, Skye Checkley, 7, of Newark, enjoying a picnic at Newark Dragon Boat Festival.
Left to right: Aeluna Checkley, 5, Gemma Evison, George Evison, 6, Dominic Checkley, Skye Checkley, 7, of Newark, enjoying a picnic at Newark Dragon Boat Festival.
Newark Dragon Boat Festival.
Newark Dragon Boat Festival.
Ant Macandrew performing on the stage at Newark Dragon Boat Festival.
Ant Macandrew performing on the stage at Newark Dragon Boat Festival.
Newark Dragon Boat Festival.
Newark Dragon Boat Festival.


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