The 12th annual Dragon Boat Race is officially live in Roundhay Park Leeds

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A day of dragon boat racing has officially begun in Leeds.

The 12th Dragon Boat Race at Roundhay Park takes place on Sunday, May 19 raising thousands of pounds for a hospice that cares for children and young people.

The Dragon Boat race in Leeds

The Dragon Boat race in Leeds

Action at the family fun day, which encourages corporates and groups to take part in aid of Martin House, gets underway at 10am on Sunday with 48 teams expected to be taking part in the races on Waterloo Lake in the Leeds park this year.

Teams aim to raise at least £1000 each and proceeds go to the running of the hospice based at Boston Spa, near Wetherby, which provides family-led care for children and young people with life-limiting conditions from across West, North and East Yorkshire.

How does it work?

The race takes part over the day, with races every ten minutes. Each team will take part in a minimum of three races before the fastest team goes through to the semi-final. Boats and life jackets are provided and each boat needs between eight and ten paddlers and a drummer to keep the rhythm. Teams can also have up to four reserves too.

Getting there

Unite the Union Leeds Bus Workers have arranged for a free shuttle bus from the city centre to Roundhay Park to operate during the day. They depart from Infirmary Street from 8.30am, every half an hour until 4.30pm and the journey takes around 25 minutes.

Return journeys are from Roundhay Park with the first bus back at 11.30am. Services then run at 12noon, 2pm, 2.30pm, 3pm, 3.30pm, 4pm, 4.30pm and 5pm

Ellie Barker, event manager, said: "The dragon boat race was the idea of one of our fundraisers and has been one of our most successful events over the years. This year is one of the biggest in terms of teams. It is such a lovely setting and a great atmosphere on the day.

"Some Martin House families have done it in the past to support us, they come for the day and some of the young people that are staying with us, we bring them over too. "