Dragon boat race spectacle set to soar on scenic Leeds lake

Dragon Boat Races at Roundhay Park, Leeds, 2013.
Dragon Boat Races at Roundhay Park, Leeds, 2013.
Have your say

Roundhay Park hosts the spectacular Martin House Children’s Hospice Dragon Boat Challenge for the seventh year in a row, on Sunday.

More than 450 people will take to brightly coloured Chinese dragon boats to the water, watched by hundreds of spectators.

Crews will race the thirty foot boats over a 200m course on Waterloo Lake, adjacent to the café.

Dragon boat racing is an exciting and colourful ancient Chinese tradition.

Every 10 to 15 minutes throughout the day, four of the 30 ft long Chinese boats with ornately carved dragon’s heads and tails will be seen being furiously paddled along the course by the crews of up to 10 paddlers plus a drummer.

The 41 crews representing local businesses and organisations from all over Yorkshire, including event sponsors First, Blackhouse, Mazars, Miller Homes, and Optident Ltd, will be raising money for Martin House Children’s Hospice, based in Clifford, near Wetherby.

Trophies will be presented by Martin House and First to the winning crew and to the team which raises the most money for the children’s hospice, which is based in Boston Spa, near Wetherby.

Gemma Cross, of Martin House said: “We are delighted that so many local companies and organisations are supporting this event and through their generosity we hope to raise over £30,000.

“We are sure that crews and spectators alike will enjoy a fantastic day with lots of races and plenty of entertainment on the bank including refreshments.

The action starts from 9am and activities will continue until 5pm.

It is hoped that more than £30,000 will be raised from the event and all funds go towards the care of poorly youngsters with life-threatening and life-limiting illnesses.

Crews pay an entry fee and individual paddlers are also sponsored. Places sold out quickly.

Bob Dorr, Business Manager for First in Leeds said: “For the second year running First is proud to support Martin House and be the main sponsor of this fantastic event. I encourage people to come along and support all the teams - and even better save the hassle of parking and use one of our regular bus services.” 
Hundreds of people are expected to watch the event, which is now a top event on the Leeds tourist map. It attracts huge crowds, many of whom bring picnics.

Last year MP Stuart Andrew took part in the race.

Teams consist of up to 15 people in each boat.

Black ice warning to drivers after car flips over garden wall and wedges into house