Stick your oar in for boat race

DATE: The charity Dragon Boat race will take place on July 7 at Pugneys. You can enter now.
DATE: The charity Dragon Boat race will take place on July 7 at Pugneys. You can enter now.

The Rotary Dragon Boat Challenge is sailing back into view after a record breaking year.

Entry forms have already gone out for this year’s race on July 7 to encourage teams to take part before it’s too late.

Last year’s race was over subscribed with more than 40 teams taking part while cheered on by 5,000 people at Pugneys Country Park.

Bob Guard, chairman of the organising committee, said: “2017 was the most successful year on record for this event with more teams raising more money than ever before.

“Entry forms have now gone out to those who entered last year and will be going out to others who have expressed an interest this week.

“Teams this year will need to get their entries in early to be certain of getting a place as we expect once again to be oversubscribed.”

Last year’s event was the most successful since the race’s inception in 2009, when the Rotary Clubs of Wakefield Chantry and Huddersfield took a risk and underwrote the first event. A dozen teams took part and raised around £5,000 for charity. Since then the event has gone from strength to strength, with more than £250,000 being raised for charity over the past nine years.

Last year the event got a £8,780 grant from the Big Lottery Fund. It financed a programme entitled ‘Inspire Wakefield’ to encourage smaller charities and organisations to enter teams in the event and to encourage more people to volunteer and support them.

Charity professional Samantha Lambert and social media expert Emmie Johnson were brought on board to drive up numbers.

Mr Guard, speaking of this summer’s tenth anniversary event, said: “Once again Sam Lambert and Emmie Johnson will be working with both the charities and all social media platforms to ensure that the event and its success are seen by as many people in this area as possible.”

Teams will compete for the Stuart Wardell Memorial Trophy and also help to raise around £50,000 for charity.

The concept is very simple – up to 20 volunteers of all ages and genders get together to form a team.

Anyone interested in entering a team or in need of more information should go to