Suffolk

Preparations under way for Dragon Boat Festival

BBC Suffolk dragon boat team
Image caption BBC Suffolk's crew competed with mixed results at Oulton Broad in 2010

Preparations are underway for the East Anglia's Children's Hospices (EACH) Dragon Boat Festival.

The event is designed to raise money for children's hospices in the region.

Last year's race at Oulton Broad, Lowestoft, raised nearly £20,000 for EACH's three hospices in Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire.

Organisers are looking for teams to take part in this year's event, which takes place on 8 May at Nicholas Everitt Park.

Danielle Gravestock, corporate fundraiser for EACH, said: "The money is vital to life-threatened local children and their families."

The festival is in its sixth year - with £85,000 raised so far for EACH.

Ms Gravestock added: "This year we need to raise £4m in donations to deliver our services amounting to £11,000 a day.

Team building

"The money raised through the generosity of the teams taking part in the Dragon Boat Festival is very important to us."

The event is being supported by BBC Suffolk and BBC Norfolk.

Linda Walker was a member of the BBC Suffolk crew which took part in 2010.

She said: "Despite the gloomy day it was great fun.

"Some teams really go to town with their costumes and once you get into the boat the adrenalin really kicks in and everyone is keen to do as well as possible.

"I'd definitely recommend it to anyone thinking of having a go, just make sure you take a change of clothes because you will get wet."

Each boat needs at least 10 crew members and a drummer. Teams have to pay a standard entry fee of £490 (plus VAT) which goes towards the running costs of the event.

Teams then raise their own sponsorship money on top of that. Corporate entry packages are also available.

Visit the East Anglian Dragon Boat Festival website for full details.

Carol Lester, director of Gable Events, festival organisers, said: "The festival is a great chance for companies and organisations to try something completely different and raise money for EACH.

"It is also a fantastic team building opportunity - what better way to get to know what makes your colleagues and competitors tick?"

EACH is also trying to raise £3m to build a new children's hospice in Ipswich for people in Suffolk and north Essex.

To give money directly to the charity, please send a cheque made payable to EACH Treehouse Appeal to:

EACH Treehouse Appeal, Epsilon House, West Road, Ipswich, IP3 9FJ

The appeal donation line number is 01473 276116.

The Treehouse totaliser is getting updated on a weekly basis.

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