Stroke on the water as dragon boats race in to boost hospice

Hundreds of people took to the water in a Leeds park to raise money for a West Yorkshire children’s hospice.

Participants in this year’s dragon boat race were joined by flocks of supporters and spectators at Roundhay Park yesterday as they paddled their way to clock up cash for Martin House children’s hospice in Wetherby.

More than 40 teams, consisting of 11 people, took part in the event, which it is hoped will raise more than £30,000 for the charity.

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Martin House events fundraiser Caroline Roberts said: “It is our major fundraising event of the year – last year raised over £30,000. And with our running costs of £4.5m a year these events are extremely important for us.

“Martin House is a home from home for parents who are going through a very difficult stage. We look after not just the child but the family and siblings as well. We are open 365 days a year to offer that support.

“We get less than 12 per cent funding so it is through events like this and the generosity of the public that we are able to offer our services.”

This is the fourth year the event has been held.

Proof of the race’s growing popularity is to be found in the fact this was the first year that all 48 places were filled ahead of the event.