Celebrate Chinese year of the Monkey at Peterborough Dragon Boat Festival launch

Louis Smith taking part in the 2015 race

Louis Smith taking part in the 2015 race

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Shoppers will be given the chance to climb aboard a full size dragon boat to mark Chinese New Year at the launch of this year’s Peterborough Dragon Boat Festival.

The boat, complete with paddles, drum and dragon’s head will be stationed at Serpentine Green Shopping Centre on Saturday, February 6 between 10am and 3pm. There will be chance to sit in the boat, try the paddles for size and enjoy a taste of this year’s festival dished up by organisers Gable Events and charity partner Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice.

Chinese New Year will be celebrated on February 8, the start of the year of the monkey.

This year’s Peterborough Dragon Boat Festival, now in its 18th year, will take place on Saturday, June 11 at Peterborough Rowing Lake. Up to 50 teams will battle it out over the 200 metre course, cheered on by their supporters who will be able to enjoy lots of bankside fun and fundraising activities between races.

The dragon boats, qualified helms and all racing equipment will be provided, no previous experience is required and each crew is guaranteed a minimum of three races.

Last year Olympic star Louis Smith was the star attraction for the big race.

Crews will be invited to raise money for Thorpe Hall Hospice before and on the day of the race. It costs £2.7 million a year to provide incredible care at the Sue Ryder hospice - £1.3 million of that has to come from fundraising.

Thorpe Hall’s head of hospice fundraising Kate Griggs said: “We’re looking forward to building on the successful partnership we began at last year’s Festival to make this year’s even bigger and better.”