Hereford Rotary River Festival
Monday 25th August 2014

Dragon Boats at the River Festival

Following the success of this event for the last four years, the City of Hereford Rotary Club is once again bringing Dragon Boat racing to Hereford. The races take place on the river Wye. They are over a distance of about 250m on a course that runs from below the Hunderton bridge as far as the rowing club.

Each team is made up of up to 16 paddlers plus the a drummer who keeps time. Each boat is provided with an experienced helmsperson. Most races are between two teams. There are a series of heats followed by finals. It is an exciting spectacle with many close races. There is something to watch and cheer taking place for several hours.

There is not just the racing. There are stalls, food tents, ice creams, a licensed bar, funfair, tug-of-war and the afternoon ends with the Wye Duck race when several thousand ducks float down the river and someone wins £1000.

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Why participate in the Dragon Boat Races?

Dragon Boat Racing is said to be the world's fastest growing participative water sport. It is popular with companies, individuals and charities. Hereford Rotary provides the opportunity for anyone to take part in this exciting day out on one of Hereford's finest assets, the River Wye.

Most of the teams who took part last year have said that they wish to come again in 2012. Clearly they enjoyed themselves.

For companies and other organisations, Dragon Boat racing is a great way of integrating and motivating people. It quickly gets everyone working together in a fun and competitive environment. It is a platform for team development, whilst helping the community by raising funds for a range of good causes.

For clubs or groups of friends, taking part is an ideal way to spend the August Bank Holiday Monday. Not everyone needs to take part. There is plenty to do for other members of the family.

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Hereford Rotary employs Dragon Boat Events to run the races on their behalf. You can find out more about them at They are highly experienced, take participants safety very seriously , have appropriate public liability insurance and have accreditation with the Adventure Activities Licensing Authority.

Although buoyancy aids are provided and must be worn, participants should be able to swim. All participants must attend a safety briefing. There is a minimum age of 16 for this event. Participants should be reasonable fit and not vastly overweight. Risk assessment has been carried out both by the Rotary Club and by Dragon Boat Events.

In the, hopefully unlikely, event that the conditions on the river are such that Dragon Boat Events consider that starting or continuing the event would be dangerous, the race will be postponed or cancelled. Entry fees will not be repayable.

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Entry fees

It costs a considerable amount to bring all the dragon boats, management teams and helmspersons to Hereford and to stage the races. In order that any profits go to charity, Rotary recovers this cost by charging each team a fee. Rotary will be subsidising the fee this year to hold it at £425 which is only £25 per participant but see below for discount.

However in order to encourage early commitment and thus early planning, a 20% discount will be applied to teams who sign up and pay by 1st July. This provides team members with a superb day's racing for £20 per head.

This fee is separate from the sponsorship collected for charity.

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Raising money for Charity

Team members commit to gaining sponsorship for their teams. Sponsor forms are provided. Normally, half the money raised goes to the local Rotary Trust fund. This is a registered charity that distributes money to a wide range of causes. A list of those supported as a result of last years event is shown under Charities and Causes. Most of this stays in Herefordshire but some supports projects involving natural disasters or people in the developing world. The other half goes either to this year's nominated charity Cancer Research UK or to a charity chosen by the particular team collecting the sponsorship. We ask individuals to aim to raise at least £50.

The event provides a high profile opportunity to support local charities which make such a valuable contribution to Hereford's community. Organisations have the opportunity to ensure that some of the money raised goes to their own nominated charity.

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How to enter

There are three stages:

  • If you need to know more ring Rob on 01432 850 448
  • If you are confident that you can raise a team, email Lucy at or Rob at We will then put you on a circulation list for any other information, raise an invoice for you if that is appropriate and keep in touch.
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