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A wonderfully exciting day was had by all, when Consultus staff grabbed oars and lifejackets in order to speed up and down the River Medway at the Tonbridge Dragon Boat Race on Sunday, 10 September 2017. Our team, “Who Cares Wins”, enjoyed every minute of the experience, even the soakings they suffered during the races!
This hugely popular event, now in its 5th year, coincided with Heritage Open Days, including a Medieval Fair on Tonbridge Castle lawn, knights, jesters and bell ringing, exhibits and tours in the Castle and a Jane Austen themed walking tour through the town.
The day for all began fine; sunshine filtered through the trees, sparkling on the water, warming our hearts with excitement for the forthcoming races. With our tent pitched and banners displayed, we received instructions and health and safety details eagerly from our delegated Dragon Boat leader. After kitting up we were ready to start!
We won our first race, exceeded our timed expectations in the second, and gave a fine performance in the third, coming middle of the leader board by the end of the day - a mighty fine achievement for our first time at a Dragon Boat Race.
We were rowing to support Tonbridge Dementia Friendly Community, an Alzheimer’s Society initiative, to bring awareness and make Tonbridge a safer place for elderly and vulnerable people, through support and organised events. Taking part were 23 teams from local businesses, charities and schools; crews comprising of 16 rowers and one drummer; all raising money for their chosen charities.
Teams with the fastest times competed in the semi-finals and the quickest boats went head to head in the final. The competition ran from 10am to 5pm with the Mayor of Tonbridge & Malling, Roger Dalton, presenting prizes to the winners. The Race is organised by Tonbridge Town team, which is a non-profit making organisation.
‘The Boars with Oars’ from Tonbridge School Centre, exhilarated by their win, celebrated in style with a champagne shower, ‘Baldwin’s Buccaneers’ were named the Best Dressed Team and Disability Snow Sport UK, a group of young people – some with special needs – won the award for the most valiant team. Our place in the running was … irrelevant … but we hope to return again next year, this time fully trained and raring to go!