• York Rotary

Dragon Boat Day 2022

Updated: Jul 27

It was, unbelievably, the 20th annual running of the York Rotary Dragon Boat Challenge (if we include the “Virtual” Challenge that ran in 2020 whilst we were all in lockdown). And it turned out to be a very successful anniversary event.

On July 10th we had the full complement of 36 teams taking part, with over a third of them “first-timers” in the event. They ranged from very small charity teams to large company crews, and even included a team of stone masons from York Minster and supporting groups!

President Mary got into the spirit of things when she gamely joined the crew from Accessible Arts and Media for their first heat – managing to log the slowest time of the day in the process!

Thanks to the efforts of all the members that helped on the day, and a very complimentary warm sunny day, it was an event full of positivity in the air, and everything – or almost everything – went according to plan.

The teams had a great day, lots of team-building and laughter being evident alongside an increasingly competitive atmosphere as the three sets of heats went on. In an exciting six-boat final, the Tadcaster Trojans (representing Tadcaster Swimming Pool Trust) won out by just one second from Merchant Taylors and ABG International.

The stone masons crew – “Stone Age” - won the best fancy dress award. (right)

On the North Bank, 21 charity stalls filled the riverbank alongside our own Rotary Tea Tent which did brisk business particularly with Diana’s Bacon Butties, a new initiative which was very popular during the morning. The charity stalls did well, and we have had excellent feedback from them.

It was a long day for many of our members and other volunteers – sixty in all! Between managing the car parking, ensuing safety through stewarding patrols, loading boats, and handing out printed Race Cards to the public (hopefully in exchange for a donation to our charities!) it was a mix of tasks which members took on in good spirit and very successfully.

And the result? Aside from the huge amount of publicity that Rotary got – including a spot on BBC Look North TV and a very high traffic count on Social Media – and the positive feedback since from many of the teams – the main purpose of the event was of course to raise funds for local charities.

The total – so far – raised by the teams for their charities (and 1/3 of their funds going to our two Rotary nominated charities Accessible Arts & Media, and Antibiotic Research UK) is around £80,000 and we raised a further £6000 for our own charity fund from running the event. This makes it, at current count, the second highest total raised over the 20 years we have been running; and takes the total amount over this period to close to £1.4 million. What an achievement!

A full report with lots more photos can be seen on our Dragon Boat pages here

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