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Dragons raise charity cash

PUBLISHED: 10:11 14 May 2008 | UPDATED: 20:23 05 July 2010

The sun sparkled on the water as the brightly-painted dragons flew across it.

Beating drums added to the atmosphere, with extra colour from the Chinese lion dancers on shore.

The sun sparkled on the water as the brightly-painted dragons flew across it.

Beating drums added to the atmosphere, with extra colour from the Chinese lion dancers on shore. It was the third East Anglian Dragon Boat festival, and it raised a record £30,000 for East Anglian Children's Hospices at the weekend - nearly twice last year's figure of £16,000.

A record number of teams took part - a sell-out 52 compared with 34 last year. Half the entries were from Norwich, with the rest from across East Anglia.

The festival was held at last year's venue of Nicholas Everitt Park in Oulton Broad, near Lowestoft, while previously it was held at Whitlingham Broad outside Norwich. The 30ft boats were raced four at a time over a 200m course, watched by several thousand people as the contestants set off every 10 minutes.

There was plenty of entertainment on shore, including the lion dancing, street theatre, a climbing wall and funfair rides.

The dragon boat festival tradition comes from a 2,000-year-old legend Chinese legend, which tells how the warrior poet Qu Yuan threw himself into the Mi Lo river after being falsely accused of treason and exiled by jealous rivals in the government. Local fishermen rowed out to save the drowning poet and tried without success to rescue him from vicious fish by beating the water with their paddles. A dragon boat festival is still held every year in Hong Kong to remember the death of Qu Yuan and the fishermen's frantic efforts.

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