What do you get if you put an MP, a telephone engineer and four bankers in a boat?
There’s no punch line here: this was the line up at Preston Marina on Saturday for a crack dragon boat racing team expertly put together to support Abbey Telecom’s fundraising campaign on behalf of Derian House Children’s Hospice.
And after a shaky start in their first heat, the crew of paddlers, which included Fylde MP Mark Menzies, found some rhythm as they burst through a field of 19 other boats to finish in a creditable tenth place, more importantly raising over £2,200 for the charity in the process.
Both Abbey Telecom and Derian House are celebrating China anniversaries this year, which prompted the telecoms provider to adopt the charity for fundraising activity. It is aiming to raise £10,000 altogether for the charity this year.
“We’ve dedicated ourselves to promoting and participating in Derian House events this summer with a series of videos,” said Abbey Telecom managing director Tony Raynor. “But we were determined to put up a good show for the dragon boat racing day and managed to recruit over 25 paddlers for fundraising and competing.
“The team put in a stirring sprint finish in our final heat and we were within a whisker of making the ‘repecharge’ final. It was a great day for everyone involved and we hope that it’s given the charity a real boost.”
And the Abbey Telecom crew members were rowing not to the beat of their usual boss, but that of his 11-year-old son Oliver as the drummer tasked with keeping their paddling strokes in time.
They also welcomed on board four rowers from Barclays Bank, whose fundraising efforts are due to be matched pound for pound by the financial giant.
To donate funds and help the paddlers raise further funds, visit http://www.abbeytele.com/dragon/
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