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Paddles at the ready in Mayors’ Dragon Boat Battle warm-up
The mayors of St Albans and Stevenage took to dragon boats on Sunday for a warm-up race ahead of the Mayors’ Dragon Boat Battle next year.
The practice session at Fairlands Valley, Stevenage, was the forerunner to a spectacular charity race on June 7, 2014 in aid of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI).
The city’s mayor Annie Brewster will then challenge Jack Pickersgill, the mayor of Stevenage, to a dragon boat race.
In a warm-up for the big day next year, representatives from a variety of community groups and organisations joined the mayors for the practice session on Sunday. Rowers came from Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, the Sea Cadets, St Albans Youth Council and included head boys and girls of local schools.
There were also representatives from local rugby and cricket clubs, the Chamber of Commerce, charity workers, the ambulance service and scout and guide groups, local sports clubs and others competing in the dragon boat challenge.
The event will raise money for the RNLI and is being organised by the lifeboat search and rescue charity in association with the two mayors.
Councillor Brewster is the Patron of the St Albans Branch of the charity and Councillor Pickersgill has chosen the RNLI as one of his Mayoral charities.
The city’s Mayor, said: "I am overwhelmed with the enthusiasm shown by my novice team representing our district’s organisations.
"They cannot wait for it to be a serious competition to raise essential funds for and, just as importantly, an understanding of what the RNLI actually does. I anticipate we will have a lot of fun next June.
"You can also join in the fun by putting your own team together for the Mayors’ Dragon Boat Battle."
The RNLI saves 22 lives a day with their lifeboats, lifeguards and flood rescue teams. Terry James from the RNLI said: "Many people do not realise our charity relies on public donations alone as we receive no government funding. Most people think when they get into trouble at sea lifeboats will turn up. Few realise inland branches such as St Albans and Stevenage are vital to the survival of this essential service."
A group of 11 people is required to make up a team that includes a helmsman and a drummer.
If you are a club, pub, school, community organisation, local business, group of friends or a public service contact Terry James at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 07585 888416.
The mayor of Stevenage, added: "I have not been in a boat for 60 years since I was in the Royal Navy.
"For this excellent cause, I could not refuse the mayor of St Albans’ challenge."
The Mayors’ Dragon Boat Battle 2014 will be held on the Fairlands Valley Lake.
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