Dragons ahoy

Chinese dragon boat with crew

Gable Events and MacIntyre are celebrating Chinese New Year by inviting entries into the 18th Milton Keynes Dragon Boat Festival. This popular annual event returns to Willen Lake in Milton Keynes on Sunday June 23 and up to 50 crews are expected to battle it out in 40 brightly painted Chinese dragon boats over the 200m race course, watched by several thousand spectators.

An ancient Chinese history

Dragon boat racing has an ancient Chinese history, dating back 2,000 years to the Kingdom of Chu, where local fishermen used their paddles to stave off vicious fish in a valiant attempt to save drowning warrior poet Qu Yuan. Their efforts failed and in Hong Kong a Dragon Boat Festival (Tuen Ng) is held annually as a re-enactment of this tragic event.

Year of the Pig

According to the Chinese Zodiac, 2019 is the year of the Pig. People born in this year are believed to be energetic, enthusiastic and blessed with good fortune – all important qualities for achieving dragon boat success in June.

Team building and fun for all

The spectacular team event is open to everyone. Each crew comprises up to 16 paddlers, a beating drummer at the front of the boat and a steering helm (provided by organisers, Gable Events) at the tail end. The dragon boats and all racing equipment are provided, each team receives three races and no previous experience is required, just plenty of team spirit. The festival promises a fantastic day for competitors and spectators alike, with catering and bankside entertainment for all the family between races.

A great fundraising opportunity

The festival offers the opportunity to raise money for MacIntyre, a national charity based in Milton Keynes that supports over 1,200 children, young people and adults who have a learning disability or autism. For crews opting for the popular gold and silver entry packages, a significant donation to MacIntyre is included in the entry fee alongside marketing benefits such as the company logo on the sides of a dragon boat. The crew raising the most money for MacIntyre will receive a special prize meal at the acclaimed Melis Restaurant, sponsored by Merinvest.

Festival charity – MacIntyre

Head of Fundraising, Claire Kennedy said: ‘MacIntyre is delighted to be the official charity for the 2019 Milton Keynes Dragon Boat Festival. Financial constraints in the social care sector mean that income we receive from fundraising is more important than ever. We use fundraised income to buy the extras that make a real and tangible difference to the people we support. Every penny received will go directly to benefit the people we support; nothing is deducted for administrative costs.’

How to join in

For further information and an entry form visit or call Gable Events on 01780 470718. For information about MacIntyre, visit or call 01908 230100

Milton Keynes Dragon Boat Festival photos courtesy of Vanessa Barton Photography

MacIntyre – What funds raised by the teams will buy

MacIntyre receives funding to provide its core services, meaning that fundraised income can be used to buy the extras that make a real and tangible difference to the people we support. Examples of this include: sports and play equipment; activity sessions and breaks; sensory items; equipment and technology to aid communication or music equipment.

In Milton Keynes, MacIntyre provide services and support more than 170 people with a learning disability and other complex needs. Responding to feedback received from the people we support, the MacIntyre Sports Group is one element of activity that we now offer in Milton Keynes. People with a learning disability and other complex needs often find it difficult to participate in sport due to low confidence, inaccessibility, lack of support and lack of opportunity.

Every penny raised at this event will be used to benefit our Milton Keynes Sports Project. If there is a particular MacIntyre service that you would like to support please contact the MacIntyre Fundraising team who will be happy to arrange this.

£420 will buy an indoor curling set

£400 will buy a 27-foot indoor roll out shuffleboard court package

£220 will pay for a sensory sound bocci set

£100 will pay for a session of specialist coaching provided by MK Dons

£20 will buy an electronic dartboard

£5 to £500 will buy a variety of games

Tel 01908 230100
Registered charity number: 250840

February 4, 2019