Oars at the ready for the next Dragon Boat race

HOR 300611 Photocall to launch the upcoming Dragon Boat Festival. Janet Fone, events manager and Miles Firth from Edwards. photo by derek martin
HOR 300611 Photocall to launch the upcoming Dragon Boat Festival. Janet Fone, events manager and Miles Firth from Edwards. photo by derek martin
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ST CATHERINE’S Hospice’s ever-popular Dragon Boat Festival is set to return to its stately setting on the lake at Knepp Castle, Shipley on Sunday September 4.

Companies of all sizes from across Horsham, Crawley, Mid Sussex and East Surrey – where the hospice provides vital end of life care and support for patients and their loved ones – are being asked to swap laptops for lifebelts and sign up for the challenge.

Michael Beasley, event organiser from St Catherine’s Hospice, said: “This is the ninth Dragon Boat Festival and every year, teams from local businesses battle it out in a series of races in the colourful 40 foot long Hong Kong-style boats, all in support of St Catherine’s.

“Our Dragon Boat Festival is a great way to brings colleagues together from across your business – whatever the size. All you need is a team of 13 to 20 people made of colleagues, friends or family members, along with an entry fee of £515 and a commitment to raise £750 in sponsorship money.

“Team fancy dress, circus stalls and games help build a great atmosphere for the day and it’s easy to get paddling as it is timing and teamwork not fitness and strength that get you and your workmates across the lake. All training and equipment is provided on the day, along with your own marquee to set up base camp and discuss race tactics!

“It’s a great way for your company to show support for the community, while also encouraging staff morale. We hope this year’s event will be our biggest yet, and we gratefully thank our sponsors Thomas Eggar and Edwards, as well as the Burrell family for kindly providing the use of the Knepp Estate free of charge.

“Sponsorship packages are available for businesses looking to raise their profile, demonstrate commitment to the community and partner with a great local cause that many employees will recognise.”

As a local independent charity, St Catherine’s Hospice relies on the generosity of the community to help raise £4.7million a year in voluntary income. To find out how you can be part of the big day, follow the Dragon Boat link at www.stch.org.uk or call Mr Beasley on 01293 447357.

The Knepp Estate is also hosting the The St Catherine’s Hospice Autumn Gift Fair at Knepp Castle, Shipley, organised by the volunteer ladies of the New Horizons Appeal. Preview Night is Wednesday September 21, 6.30pm to 9pm (drinks and canapés) and Fair Day, Thursday September 22, 9.30am to 4pm. With more than 80 stalls, offering everything from local produce and home-made cakes to linens and designer clothing there’s something for everyone. For further information call the ticket hotline on 01293 447367.