Popular Dragon Boat race returning to Gloucester to raise money

A picture of the dragon boats at one of the basins of Gloucester Docks. In the picture you can see crowds lining the dockside, charity banners and the warehouses of the docks
The Dragon Boat Festival at Gloucester Docks -Credit:Gloucester BID

A charity boat race event is due to take place again in Gloucester next weekend. It's helping to keep alive a tradition that dates back 2,000 years to China.

Taking place on Sunday May 12, the Dragon Boat Festival at the city's Docks sees teams race across the day hoping to come out first across the line. Organised by the Rotary Club of Gloucester, the race start beneath the swing bridge on Llanthony Road and finish level with "Greek on the Docks" at Merchants Quay.

With a distance of 300 metres, the first race of the day will be at 10.30am and the last one at around 4pm. The race will involve 18 rounds of heats that then build up to semi-finals and a final.

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GR Lanes Health are a key supporter of the event and the event's headline charity is Young Gloucestershire, who support young people to "have confidence, motivation and skills to improve their lives."

Nick Bishop, one of the organisers for the Rotary Club, said: “Dragon boat racing originated in China 2,000 years ago. It involves up to 10 rowers sitting side by side in a 30-foot-long canoe, with a helm to steer and a drummer sitting up high in front, beating out the rhythm. The boats are fitted with a colourful dragon’s head and are a truly impressive sight at speed."

Nick adds: “All funds raised during the event will go towards charities that our Rotary Club support, but our main beneficiary from the festival is our headline charity Young Gloucestershire. The modern world can throw a lot at the young people of today. No matter what their situation, YG provides opportunities and support to help young people to achieve their goals. By working and supporting YG we want to aid the staff, youth workers, trainers and advisers to do what they can to ensure that the young people in our community get the most out of the opportunities that come their way."