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Dragon racers under expert eye

PUBLISHED: 11:26 01 May 2010 | UPDATED: 17:14 06 July 2010

PEOPLE taking part in the fifth East Anglian Dragon Boat Festival next month will have some expert eyes surveying their rowing technique - as around 150 Chinese students gather to watch the action at Oulton Broad.

PEOPLE taking part in the fifth East Anglian Dragon Boat Festival next month will have some expert eyes surveying their rowing technique - as around 150 Chinese students gather to watch the action at Oulton Broad.

About 30 companies and organisations have already entered teams in the event, on Sunday, May 9, which will raise funds for the East Anglia Children's Hospice (EACH).

But, as well as the crowds watching the action from Nicholas Everitt Park, there will be some dragon boat aficionados among the spectators.

Tiger Lowestoft Ltd, which runs education and language courses in the town, has organised a special event at the Wherry Hotel for the same day and has invited about 150 Chinese students, along with their host families, teachers and social services staff.

Dean Annison, the company's director general, said: “Dragon boat racing is a massive sport in the Far East. In Macau, from where many of our students come, there is a massive bronze statue of a dragon boat. It just shows how highly it's regarded.”

Tiger Lowesoft Ltd, which is based at the Aspire Centre at Denes High School, runs courses for foreign students in Lowestoft via its sister company Connections UK Guardianships, and also runs shorter courses at the Briar School in Lowestoft, which it owns.

Mr Annison added: “We were seriously weighing up whether to enter a team in the festival. One of our ex-students used to be the captain of a dragon boat in Macau. I was tempted to fly him in specially with his team - they'd be unbeatable!”

As well as the races, there will be a host of other attractions to entertain the crowds at the festival ­­- including a flypast by a wartime Dakota ZA947 aircraft which is a display aircraft in the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.

The top fund-raisers for EACH will win a celebratory meal and use of the gym and spa at Marriott Sprowston Manor, near Norwich.

The festival is organised by Gable Events and supported by BBC Suffolk, the Lowestoft Journal and Waveney District Council.

Spectators and competitors will be able to take full advantage of a wide variety of entertainment- from fairground rides to fun inflatables and Chinese lion dancing to the performances of the local Venue of Performing Arts.

For more details on the festival, call Gable Events on 01780 470718 or visit its website: www.dragonboatfestivals.co.uk/eastanglia

Tiger Lowestoft Ltd is seeking host families for its students in the Waveney area, and elsewhere in Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire and Essex. All families receive a weekly allowance. For information, ring 01502-580203, or e-mail your details to: info@tiger-uk.com

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