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Testimonial Image

Cath Groome

Follicular lymphoma survivor

I became interested in Bourne Water Dragons when I picked up a leaflet last year at the Jigsaw Unit at Bournemouth University Hospital Dorset (UHD), where I received immunotherapy for follicular lymphoma. In my mind, I was trying to get fit but really wasn't up to it physically or mentally.

One year later, I have now joined the group, and we go out on the tranquil river Stour every Sunday morning at 9.30 and Thursday evening at 6.00 pm. The weather has been brilliant for my first three taster sessions.
I absolutely love it. A dragon boat is a long boat with a crew of 16 or more people, 22 being the maximum. We sit in twos and face the front of the boat (not like rowing). Not really being a water lover and never having done anything like this before, I was a little nervous at first but was soon put at ease by my companions, helping to get me in and out of the vessel, instructing, guiding and directing.

Getting out on the river has a wonderful calming effect. The scenery is beautiful: seeing the land from a different perspective. We bring a smile to everyone we pass, whether they are on lavish large yachts, more humble hire boats, or paddleboards. All give a cheery "good morning" or wave. The exercise is glorious, and we work rhythmically as a team, following the instructions from the helm at the back, who tells us when to slow down, stop, go backwards, etc. There are certain words for certain things that I am getting used to (terminology). Everyone helps to get the boat ready to be launched and take it out of the water on return. Then, the session is followed by a sociable cup of tea or coffee.

It is a sport that one can get lost in. Your mind clears, and you can absolutely live the moment… very special. Sometimes, we have a drummer at the front who beats the rhythm of the strokes, and that adds to the experience.

I would thoroughly recommend this activity to help you get fit mentally and physically… why not join us?

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