The First Dream-A-Way Dragon Boat Race
Hundreds turned out braving the elements on Sunday 31st August 2008 for the first Dream-A-Way Dragon Boat Race Event.
The event, held on Exeter Quay was a 250m run starting in line with the children's play area by the Malt House Pub, heading down river, under Cricklepit Bridge and ending at Mallison Footbridge by the old Transit shed.
With early morning rain threatening to dampen spirits, the teams and spectators defiantly crowded on the Quay and Cricklepit Bridge for the 10.30 start.
Shortly after the start the sun made a welcome appearance - especially for the Wessex Rugby team who took an early bath in the first round! Fortunately they regained their composure and continued to compete - once the Boat had been bailed out.
They were later heard to chant their “toilet brush” song to try and inspire greater achievements,
but sadly they didn't reach the semi final stage.
The atmosphere throughout the day was relaxed, enjoyable and competitive.
With the aid of just a few alcoholic refreshments the racing got more and more exciting.
The teams became stronger and all increased their race times.
Aye Aye Cap’n Park led by Lizzie FREEMAN representing St Margaret's School old girls and the Park Hotel at Exmouth, ensured there was glamour on the Exe in their delightful Pirate outfits.
Wet Fuzz were all recruits from the Devon and Cornwall Constabulary and despite their brave efforts didn't quite make the finals.
Mambo Crew were the first to arrive and took seriously their part in the event in fact had there been a prize for staying power they would have won - as their team captain was still under the transit shed well into the night!
The On the Waterfront team tried hard to stick with the pace,
but despite being on their home patch they just failed at the final hurdle.
The furthest to travel were the PwC team from Plymouth led by Matt WOOLCOCK who just lost out on a semi final spot.
The days exciting racing resulted in two finals:
The first was to determine the best loser and the courageous team representing Gilbert Stephens/Crosse and Crosse just lost out to the triumphant Bradleys team - Just remember it is taking part that counts and there’s always next year !
The event concluded with two semi finals with MITIE Group recording the days fastest time of 43.70 to narrowly beat the youthful Timepiece Team, whilst the Wet Office managed to be just too strong for the hardworking Woodbury Park team.
The Wet Office were one of the early favourites but only just scraped into the semi finals.
So into the final of the very first DREAM-A-WAY dragon boat challenge and MITIE group were beaten by the narrowest of margins by our champions from the Wet Office.
Congratulations to the successful victors THE WET OFFICE who were very worthy winners!
The Wet Office team revel in their win, after being presented with their prize by Gill Freeman, Events Co-ordinator (far left) and Chairman Jeff Merrett MBE (far right) of Dream-A-Way.
After The Races:
Following the presentations the contestants and spectators were entertained by the fantastic COOL Brothers from Plymouth,
kindly sponsored by STRUTT PARKER with METRO, Haven Banks.
All our competitors were rewarded with complimentary pampering treatments from MOLTON BROWN emporium Exeter.
Throughout the day Mark and his hardworking but ever smiling staff at the PROSPECT INN ensured no one went hungry or thirsty.
Huge thanks to HEAVITREE BREWERY for the staging and to BRADLEYS GROUP for the printing and design of the excellent promotional event leaflets both before and on the day.
The event was superbly managed by the very professional GABLE EVENTS
who ensured everyone’s safety and enjoyment throughout.
Through all the generosity of the teams, spectators and sponsors it is anticipated that the event will raise a magnificent total exceeding £5000 for DREAM-A-WAY!
Finally, on behalf of Dream-A-Way and in particular Gill, Jeff and Robbo we would like to thank our main and very generous sponsors:
South West Crane Hire
and the Express and Echo
We are running the second annual event on Bank Holiday Monday, 31st August 2009,
so if you're up for a fun, competitive day out - no matter how many of you there are,
check out the 2009 page now for full info and to register your team.
Places are sure to fill fast!