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Dragon Boat Festival returns with a splash!

Photo credit: Toby Phillips Photography
St Catherine’s Hospice annual Dragon Boat Festival returned to Tilgate Park with a splash earlier this month, in a fantastic day of free family fun!
This year’s festival, held on Sunday 9 September, was the hospice’s biggest ever to date, with more teams than ever before taking to the lake.
Teams were made up of local businesses, including Horsham teams, Fisher Clinical Services, Assurity Consulting, Forza Doors and Thakeham who battled it out to be crowned Dragon Boat Champions 2018.
Speaking on the day, Georgie Dawson, Marketing Manager at Thakeham, said: “Thakeham is thrilled to be taking part in St Catherine’s Dragon Boat Race Festival for the third year running. It’s always a great event for such a brilliant cause. And is an event that’s highly anticipated in all our calendars now! Today is about family, team work and community which is why Thakeham feels such an affinity with the event. Thank you to all at St Catherine’s and to all our generous sponsors that have helped us reach our total.”
Tracey Staplehurst, Business Planning Manager, from Fisher Clinical Services, added, “St Catherine’s has always been close to the hearts of Fisher Clinical Services (part of ThermoFisher Scientific) in Horsham. Over the years, a number of our colleagues, friends and family have been supported by St Catherine’s during their most difficult of days, and it gives us such pride to be able to give something back. The gift of our time and energy, either as volunteers or as fundraisers, ensures that this wonderful organisation continues to offer support to our local community, when and where it’s needed most. Today’s Dragon Boat race has become a firm favourite. It’s a day of happiness and togetherness, for competitors and spectators alike.”
Those on the shorelines tried their luck at traditional fête games, such as hook a duck and a penalty shootout, whilst younger visitors sprung into action on giant inflatables. Visitors also tucked into tasty food from onsite vendors, and enjoyed refreshing drinks from the onsite bar, provided by Sussex Event Bars, who donated a percentage of profits to St Catherine’s.
On the lake, teams showed true team spirit as they raced across the water in Chinese Dragon Boats. After a full day of races, DHL Express powered through to be crowned champions, with a winning time of 57 seconds, which was two seconds faster than last year’s winners.
Amanda Phelan, Operations Manager at DHL Express, said: “This is our third year competing and it’s always such a lovely, fantastic day. The second year we took part we came in at second place so we were here to win today. And we’re thrilled we managed it!”
Close behind, in second place, were Vines Ltd with Vines Beemer taking the third place trophy. Winning teams were presented with medals and trophies by Giles Tomsett, Chief Executive at St Catherine’s, and The Worshipful Mayor of Crawley, Councillor Carlos Portal Castro.
Vines of Gatwick proudly sponsored the festival, alongside entering two teams. Darren Buche, MINI Sales Executive at Vines of Gatwick, said: “Every year, we have a fantastic day at St Catherine’s Dragon Boat Festival. It’s been great seeing even more teams competing this year to show their support for the amazing work St Catherine’s does caring for people in the community around us. It’s a fun day out for us as colleagues and it’s brilliant to raise money for such a worthwhile cause. We’re pleased that our efforts will help more people in our community in the future. We’re already looking forward to signing up for next year’s race!”
St Catherine’s Dragon Boat Festival is one of the local hospice’s biggest annual fundraisers. The event will help them provide expert end of life care to local terminally ill people and their friends and family, when life comes full circle. Currently, the hospice can only care for one in three people. But with the support of the community at events like Dragon Boats, the hospice wants to make sure that nobody faces death and loss alone.
Suzanne Davis, Corporate Fundraiser at St Catherine’s, said: “We’d like to thank everyone who supported or took part in this year’s Dragon Boat Festival. Your efforts take us a step nearer to reaching everyone who needs us. We hope you all enjoyed the day as much as we did!”
To find out about future St Catherine’s events, or how you can support the hospice, please visit: www.stch.org.uk.
Photo credit: Toby Phillips Photography

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