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Next year’s Dragonboat Festival to be the ‘biggest yet’

ORGANISERS of Bradford Dragonboat Festival say next year’s event is set to be the biggest yet after its main race day sold out.

Next year’s event will take place on the River Aire next to Roberts Park, Saltaire, between Friday, June 22, and Sunday, June 24.

For the event’s race day, to be held on Saturday, June 23, the full allocation of 41 paddling teams has been signed up, including representatives from Bradford College and West Yorkshire Police, to do battle on the water.

But an additional four reserved-entry sponsorship packages for teams to take to the water are still available.

Here, teams of 16 paddlers and one drummer will take part in two rounds of heats.

A youth competition will get next year’s festival under way, with teams of youngsters aged 11 to 19 competing. Organisers are looking for schools and colleges to sign up, for a charge of £250 per team.

Following Saturday’s main race day action, a corporate day will round off the event, with organisers looking for more teams, with 17 signed up already.

The event will also feature a feast of entertainment over the three days, including music and magic shows.

This year’s event attracted an estimated 40,000 to 50,000 spectators.

Razwana Mahmood, team liaison for the event, said: “Next year’s is shaping up to be the biggest one yet. We have really grown since we started.

“People are talking about it everywhere. We were still selling places for our race days for this year in February and March, but we had already sold out for next year’s race day by the end of last month.”

The festival, which took place over three days in May, raised more than £30,500 for charity.

The total raised so far from this year’s event includes £26,000 for the Lord Mayor’s Appeal – YoungMinds – which was the chosen charity of the Lord Mayor of Bradford for 2016-17, Councillor Geoff Reid. The charity helps children, young people and their parents to find out about the mental health and wellbeing services available to them.

Money raised from next year’s event will go to the nominated charities of this year’s Lord Mayor of Bradford, Councillor Abid Hussain. They are Down Syndrome Training and Support Services, based at the Pamela Sunter Centre, in Whitley Street, Bingley, and the Wishing Well Appeal, which will provide small grants for organisations and smaller groups across the Bradford district.

Meanwhile, a Bradford team performed well at the British Dragonboat Association National Finals in Nottingham.

A team of 20 paddlers, a mixture of men and women, made up of six people from The Kraken (Greater Manchester Police Force’s charity team) and 14 people from Bradford Barracudas, took part in a number of races over the two-day event, held last month. They finished fourth in both the Open Class 200-metre – Plate Competition and the Mixed Class 200m – Plate Competition.

They were sixth in the Mixed Class 500m – Cup Competition Minor Final and third in the Open Class 500m.

Go to bradforddragonboatfestival.co.uk to enter next year’s festival, or for more information.

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