Well, after all the speculation in the last post on what the Bertrams Bravehearts would be wearing last Sunday, of course we should have guessed from the clue in their name! Frances Plant reports on a team which tried their best, and had a lot of fun in the process...
[caption id="attachment_6181" align="aligncenter" width="640"] Now let's have a group hug and discuss team tactics![/caption]
On the day we needed 10 paddlers plus a drummer and we ended up with a team of about 16, so we had lots of reserves and most of the team still got at least 2 races in. The team consisted of Frances Plant, Sarah Bunting, Dale Pascoe, Bernadette Nyulasz, Daniel Fridd, Robin Denton, Mike De’Ath, George Jacobi, Donna Tallent, Chris Bone, Emma Harris, Shuzhen (Sue) Wang, Paul Whittingham, Chris Keevan, Lee Ladbrooke, David Cook & Ben Fridd (aged 13 – Drummer). The team comes from various areas of the business including; Operations, Sales, IT, Finance, HR, C/S and Digital.
[caption id="attachment_6182" align="aligncenter" width="640"] OK, let's push off and go![/caption]
It was a disappointingly grey and rather cold morning, especially when the previous week has been so lovely and warm. But spirits were high as we waited, shivering in anticipation for the first race. Going with the Bertrams Bravehearts theme we had ridiculous tartan Scottish hats with red hair, fabulous Bertrams green team name printed t-shirts and even some blue warrior face paint on! We certainly looked the part! The crowds started to build, as colleagues, friends and family all arrived to cheer us on.
[caption id="attachment_6167" align="aligncenter" width="640"] Getting to grips with everything...[/caption]
The races themselves proved rather hard going, and having lost the first two races we were determined to improve on race three. We had stories of George and Donna nearly falling in, paddlers being shouted at to get in time to the beat and lots of camaraderie from the other local businesses taking part. Race three arrived, the team was picked, we decided tactically that as the yellow boat had won most of the races to date, this must be the quicker boat as opposed to the red boat which we had been in for race one and two, so we ran to get the fast yellow boat!
[caption id="attachment_6168" align="aligncenter" width="640"] Hurray, we have the yellow boat![/caption]
We then had some last-minute seat changes in the boat to maximise our paddling potential (advised to us by the event organisers), I think they could tell we were getting competitive, or maybe desperate! And we were off! I don’t really know what happened then other than we all paddled and chanted so hard, that once we got to the end we didn’t know who had won, it was that close. The other team believed they had tipped us to the post, and to be honest the crowd and ourselves all believed them. However as the results came in to our surprise we had just won our last race by less than a second! Phew!
[caption id="attachment_6169" align="aligncenter" width="640"] Putting everything into that last race...[/caption]
Unfortunately our overall times were not enough and we didn’t qualify for the semi finals, but what a fun day we'd had. Finally to our surprise at the end of day when the awards were presented we did win the best dressed competition, bringing home a lovely East Anglian Air Ambulance paperweight for our efforts!
[caption id="attachment_6183" align="aligncenter" width="640"] ... and the spray flew by![/caption]
We have raised to date a staggering £727 with further funds still to be added, so we hope to reach the £800 mark. The charity is one that is close to many people’s hearts in East Anglia and thanks must be given to everyone who has contributed by sponsoring us and buying raffle tickets as well to everyone who took part and supported us on the day.
Bring on next year!
Fantastic news Francis! It's good to see that Bertrams is carrying on the tradition of winning awards at dragon boat races! You've done brilliantly to raise so much for the East Anglian Air Ambulance.
Update: Frances's Just Giving Page shows the Bravehearts have now raised over £800 - well exceeding their original £500 target :)