Day Out with the Dragons!
Saturday 2nd June, Orwell Quay - 10am to 4pm
Local charity, Fresh Start - new beginnings, which supports children and young people who have disclosed being sexually abused, is bringing its first ever Dragon Boat Festival to Ipswich Waterfront in June. Teams of up to 15, from local groups and companies, will compete to become Dragon Boat Champion on Saturday 2nd June, in what promises to be a fantastic family day out.
Dragon Boat Racing has its roots in China over 2000 years ago, where races were traditionally held to avert misfortune and encourage the rains for prosperity. The object of worship was, of course, the dragon, as in Asia it was a traditional symbol of water. Dragons are said to rule the rivers and seas, and dominate the clouds and rains.
Later, a second story was linked to the racing, which saw the poet Qu Yuan spend many years exiled and wandering the countryside, when his king came under the influence of corrupt ministers. On learning of the defeat of the king, it is said that Qu Yuan waded into the river, holding a rock, to commit suicide. The story tells that the people loved him so much, they raced out in boats in a vain attempt to save him, beating on drums and splashing their paddles in the water to keep the river dragon away from his body.
Today's boats are sleek, colourful and streamlined, and built for racing in a water sport that is growing fast around the world. Fresh Start - new beginnings has partnered with professional dragon boat racing company, Race the Dragon Ltd to run the festival, which everyone hopes will be a great fundraising event for the charity.
Teams will race in heats, spurred on by their drummer, to achieve the fastest times before the Grand Final later in the afternoon.
Fundraising Manager, Patsy Johnson-Cisse said: " I wanted to bring a new and exciting experience to Ipswich to help raise funds for the vital work of Fresh Start - new beginnings. We have already helped over 1000 children and young adults since the charity was set up in 2012, but it costs around £2,500 (GBP) for each referral. The boat crews will be raising much needed funds to help us rebuild the futures of even more children and young people in Suffolk and Norfolk. We hope everyone will come along to watch or take part in our other activities on the day. "