The 2022 York Rotary Dragon Boat Challenge

A fabulous day for a fabulous cause!

On what was one of the hottest days of the year so far, Ellen & Lucy from our activities and events team, set up our bright orange gazebo in a prime spot on Dame Judi Dench Walk, ready for the start of the annual Dragon Boat Race.

Dragon Boat Racing is one of the fastest growing sports in the world and with its appeal to community fundraising groups, and its visually exciting events, it’s clear to see why.  A Dragon Boat crew is made up of 16 paddlers, paced by a drummer at the bow and guided by a helmsman at the stern, who combine power and rhythm to achieve maximum acceleration and speed over a 250 metre course on the iconic River Ouse.

Now in its 20th year, York Rotary’s challenge event pitches companies and organisations against each other in a fun and exciting race, whilst highlighting and raising money for their chosen charity and York Rotary’s local, chosen charities.  It’s a great opportunity too for these charities to set up a stall with information, friendly conversation and maybe a tempting treat or two!  With race heats running from 10am – 3.30pm and the grand final at 4pm the event usually attracts local families and tourists in their thousands, and last weekend’s race didn’t disappoint.

With a group of friendly and enthusiastic volunteers on hand to help, we provided a wealth of information about the charity and our services to passers-by and race goers, and sold plenty of our Yorkshire Day raffle tickets, to raise money for Club Wilber.  We were also there to support our friends and sponsors at YO1 Radio who were racing as team ‘Rule the Waves’, raising money for us as their chosen charity.

YO1 Dragon Boat Race team on the water

With three teams racing in each heat, and three sections of heats, it was a packed race card, and the eventual winners, Tadcaster Trojans, were clear contenders from the start.  As Ellen pointed out, “the crew with the drummer that kept a strong beat, and the team shouted in time with them, performed the best”. 0 YO1 smashed their first heat, but unlike many of the other teams, didn’t perform as well in their second run out.  But in their third and final heat they were the clear winners again.

After all of the races were done, the fastest six times were taken, and the six best teams were called for the Grand Final.  It was no surprise when Tadcaster Trojans won overall, and additional trophies were given for The Best Dressed Team and Armed Forces Team, amongst others.

The glorious sunshine, the bunting and the yummy treats from ‘The Full Moo’ ice cream boat helped create a wonderful gala atmosphere and we had a great time meeting existing supporters of the trust, and new faces who wanted to know a bit more about us.  We love attending events like this and getting out there in the community and if we can raise awareness and much needed funds at the same time then it’s even better.

Thank you to all of those that stopped by to say hello or buy a raffle ticket and a BIG thank you to YO1 Radio who took to the water and proudly flew the flag for us and raised much need funds in doing so!

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The Wilberforce Trust is dedicated to helping those with visual impairment, sight loss, hearing loss and other disabilities across York, North Yorkshire and the surrounding areas.