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Paddles at the ready – entries are officially open for the 2019 Peterborough Dragon Boat Festival, which will take place at Peterborough Rowing Club on Saturday June 8.

Organisers Gable Events are hoping to top last year’s record-breaking festival, which saw 48 teams take part and raise more than £35,000 for charity Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice.

ESP is again proud to be the print media partner for the event and our ESP Motley Crew will be competing on the day – it’s great fun so why not join us?

In what will be the 21st festival, teams of up to 11 people will take to the water to battle it out in 30 foot dragon boats. Each boat will have its own drummer at the front beating out time. As well as the races, which are expected to be watched by several thousand spectators, there will be plenty of bankside entertainment and stalls for all the family.

The festival will once again raise funds for Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice, which is the only specialist palliative care inpatient unit in Peterborough. The hospice provides expert care and support for people living with life-limiting conditions, as well as supporting their families.

Thorpe Hall Hospice has to fundraise £2.4 million in 2019 to continue providing its vital support to people across the region, which makes events like the Dragon Boat Festival even more important.

There is a great incentive for teams to raise as much sponsorship as possible – the top fundraisers will win the prize of a group experience day at Orton Hall Hotel and Spa to include Buck’s Fizz on arrival, morning use of Imagine Spa’s facilities, lunch and an afternoon with locally based CJ’s Birds of Prey.

Thorpe Hall Hospice’s Community Fundraiser, Nilesh Patel,said: “We are thrilled to once again be the charity partner for the Peterborough Dragon Boat Festival. A big thank you to everyone who contributed to last year’s record-breaking event and we are so excited to see what 2019 will bring. We would love to top last year’s fundraising figure. The festival is the perfect opportunity for friends, families, businesses and groups to come together as a team and do something completely different. You don’t need previous experience – just plenty of enthusiasm, energy and fighting spirit! All funds raised will ensure that we can carry on providing specialist care and being there when it matters for local families.”

As well as ESP Magazine, the Peterborough Dragon Boat Festival is also supported by Connect FM and sponsored by IKEA. Jakob Bertilsson, CDC Manager at IKEA, said: “IKEA Peterborough is very proud to sponsor and take part in the Peterborough Dragon Boat Festival 2019 in aid of Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice. We enjoyed taking part in last year’s event and working alongside the charity to fundraise for such a worthwhile cause. I am sure that this year’s event will surpass last year’s, and that is a credit to all those involved that put such hard work into ensuring this success. Here at IKEA, we are proud to support our local communities and charities, we believe in people and truly live our vision to create a better everyday life for the many people. We look forward to seeing you all there.”

There are spaces for up to 48 crews to battle it out over the 200 metre course. Enhanced Gold and Silver entry packages are available, which include marketing benefits such as the company’s logo on each side of a dragon boat as well as a significant donation to Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice. Each team will race a minimum of three times, the dragon boats and all equipment are provided and no previous experience is needed.

For more information and an entry form call Festival organisers Gable Events on 01780 470718 or visit

For information about the vital work of Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice, visit or email

Photos: Mike Harris for ESP Magazine

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