Bourne Water Dragons Celebrate 5th Anniversary

The Bourne Water Dragons Celebrate their 5th anniversary of helping cancer survivors stay active and have a community for support.

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The Bourne Water Dragons Celebrate their 5th anniversary of helping cancer survivors stay active and have a community for support.

Bourne Water Dragons (BWD) celebrated its 5th Anniversary.

BWD was the brainchild of 4 extraordinary people. Mary Milne, Layne Hamerston, Jane Young and Christine Bailey. The latter two have survived cancer. Between them, they wanted to establish a dragon boat club because they realised that the activity of dragon boating provides not only physical exercise but also offers psychological support through people having experienced a serious illness, getting together and working as one to achieve a common goal. Not only that but providing soulful, mindful, comfort that only nature can grant; gently paddling down the River Stour, appreciating wonderful scenery, listening to the birdsong, hearing the occasional whoosh as a swan takes flight… the peace, tranquillity and calmness, being interrupted only by the unified splash of paddles as they hit the water - In a nutshell, healing mind, body and soul.

The four founder members attended the special event, celebrated at the site, and shared with the Sea Cadets at Iford Playing Fields. BWD was the first dragon boat club for all genders and all types of cancer in the UK.

The journey of our club has been nothing short of remarkable, especially considering the challenges we've faced in the past couple of years. Our membership has now surpassed 35, a testament to the strong bonds and shared passion within our team. Thanks to the generous sponsorship from Haskins Garden Centre, we were able to add a second boat to our fleet last year, a clear sign of our growing influence and reach.

Sunday was a beautiful sunny day. It was all hands on deck at 10.00 am, and our chief organiser, Jane, was at the helm, tasking others with the prep of:

  • Putting up flags/bunting
  • Setting out tables and chairs, etc.

David Hardman turned up trumps after being tasked by Jane with a 'photo call dragon picture' project. It was the main talking point of the day and was great fun.  Our friends from the MVS (Marine Voluntary Service) turned up, and it was good to have them join us. BBQs are on, and off we go with onions, sausages, burgers, sausage rolls, and cakes galore. Our celebration cake, baked as usual by the superb 'New Forest Cake House' and iced by our fabulous team supporter Shirley Rust, was on full show for the photo call of the original Four Founder Members to cut.

The Tombola stall raised a healthy £83. Speeches were brief but a thank you was given to the outgoing chair: Ian Stephenson, (who leaves the club in a healthy position) by Pete Gammage, who has taken over the helm of the charity.

All in all, it was a beautiful day made possible by a true team, including trustees, helms, members, family, friends, and supporters.

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