by ACT

  • Posted on July 27, 2018

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…Kingston Dragon Boat Race 2018

On Sunday 24th July 2018, ACT participated in the annual Kingston Boat Race, organised by the Kingston Rotary Club, to raise money for our cause.

Hundreds of competitors flocked to Canbury Park Gardens, and around 60 teams battled it out on the river to determine who would make the exciting six-boat final for the Challenge Cup. The Boat Race was not the only attraction. The riverside was brimming with exciting stalls, sideshows, bouncy castles and rides for the kids, and made it a real fun-filled day for the family.

Each boat can take up to 16 people and includes a drummer whose drum beats encourage the rowers – and also adds to the cacophony of sounds when the race is on. This was ACT’s fourth participation in the Boat Race and was a very special one as the charity is celebrating its 20th Anniversary this year and we wanted to make sure that team could raise as much awareness as possible.

Race Drummer – Leora

To commemorate this special occasion ACT trustee, Chima Amiaka, customised some Anniversary T-shirts. As everyone put on their T-shirts you could see we had an army ready to take on the river! In total there were 14 people in the ACT team including our young drummer.

As the team arrived at Canbury Park Gardens, many of the participants came with their families to cheer them on and this added another layer of excitement for those taking part. After some reforecasts the group stood together for some photos and it was at that point that they were greeted by the Rotary District Governor, David Easton, overseer of more than a hundred Rotary clubs in Surrey. He took keen interest in the ACT team, commending the work we are doing transforming the lives of needy children in Africa. He was particularly impressed with the work we were doing in Nigeria as he had spent 6 months there, training police in Ethical Policing and cultivating his love for Nigerian jollof rice.

As the day went on it became a real scorcher and at this point the team were ready to get out on the cool river, but they first had to go through a Health & Safety briefing and be shown their allotted positions. However tedious the training seemed initially, it gave the team the courage that they could race (only a few of the team had prior experience). The atmosphere was great and felt more like a boat festival than a competition, but once the siren sounded and signalled the start of the race (review), the competition was on.

ACT Boat Race team with Cllr Thayalan, The Mayor of Kingston-upon-Thames

Each team wanted to achieve a good time to qualify for the finals. We worked out the boat composition and seating arrangement for our team and then got into the boat and very quickly settled in. The river is beautiful and it was nice rowing in the water. The race was a short distance and before you knew it was all over. With the help of Leora, our young drummer we came second in the first of the heats.

Unfortunately, we did not qualify for the finals. However, the team tried their best and it was a great day out and ended on a high as they were introduced to The Mayor of Kingston, Councillor Thayalan who congratulated ACT on its 20th anniversary commended our good work and encouraged us to aim for greater heights.

If you would like to take part in the Dragon Boat Challenge next year – no experience necessary and training will be provided – please email us at office@africanchildtrust.org.uk to sign up for next years’ race.

To find out more about ACT visit our website www.africanchildtrust.org.uk

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