Dragon Boat Festival stays afloat as Bewl Water owners rescue the event

Pam Mills
The dragon boats set sail

More than £2.7million has been raised for charities through the annual race since it began in 1998. Around 50 teams of 17 compete in the time-trials and races, which this year took place on September 8.

When organisers Funraisers announced that his year’s races would be their last, the future of the event looked uncertain.

However, last week Markerstudy Leisure, who bought Bewl in 2016, announced they would be taking it on.

The company also own One Warwick Park Hotel, Salomons Estate and are the publishers of this newspaper.

Andrew Daniells, Chief Operating Officer at Markerstudy Leisure, said: “Funraisers have developed the Bewl Dragon Boat Festival over many years.

“So, not to host this special charity fundraising day, marked on so many peoples’ calendar, would be a great shame.

“We will again be working alongside the team at [equipment suppliers] Dragon Boat Events adding other attractions to this great annual family occasion.”

In the 2018 event 3,000 people were involved in the races ultimately won by the Wadhurst Warriors team.

The contest sees squads of 17 [16 paddlers and one drummer playing the cox role] take part in each Chinese-style dragon boat over a 250-metre course.

The event rewards teamwork as well as fitness and entries are now being taken for the 2019 edition.

All competitors are required to wear fancy dress outfits.

Kevin Millington, Funraisers committee member previously told the Times, that organisers felt it was time to take a step back with sponsorship becoming harder to find.

The Dragon Boast Festival was their only project but the group has not ruled out taking on other events in the future.

To find out how you can get involved in the 2019 race, email: info@bewlwater.co.uk

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