In July, we had two amazing Bluecube teams participate in the annual Milton Keynes Dragon Boat Racing Festival, an event that brings together local businesses and organisations for a day of fun, teamwork, and competitive spirit. What made this even more special was that we paddled with a purpose – fundraising for a local Milton Keynes charity close to many of our hearts, the Willen Hospice.
Our two teams, the Server Surfers and Dragon 32, consisted of 10 rowers and 1 drummer 🛢️🚣♂️🐉. Despite the rainy, typical British summer, they and their supporting families and friends pulled together to come a respectable 17th and 18th out of 32 teams!
The Milton Keynes Dragon Boat Racing Festival is a much-anticipated fundraising event that takes place on Willen Lake. Teams gather to compete in the Chinese sport of dragon boat racing, where synchronisation, teamwork, and a dash of adrenaline are essential ingredients for success. The festival is not only about friendly competition but also about coming together as a community to support a charitable cause.
Paddling with purpose
This year, the aim was for each participating team in the race to choose a local Milton Keynes charity, and our teams took the opportunity to support Willen Hospice. The hospice is a local charity that provides compassionate care and support to patients facing life-limiting illnesses and their families. We were deeply moved by the incredible work they do and felt compelled to contribute to their mission.
On the Friday before the festival, our MK Norfolk House team organised various fundraising events to raise money for the hospice. This was themed around Chinese culture, specifically around the colour red which symbolises 'luck' in China. The day started off with a paper folding competition, followed by a very tricky chopstick challenge and for lunch the team were treated to a delicious noodle bar. It was lovely to see so many of the team sporting red, aside from the expected football shirt rivalries!
Take a look at what the office team got up to:
The response from our colleagues, friends and family was truly heart warming. Their generous contributions motivated us to give our all on race day.
The big day
Race day was nothing short of thrilling. With each team member fully committed to giving their best, we felt a sense of unity and purpose as we paddled together toward a common goal. The rain didn't stop the team from giving their all, and it was also truly inspiring to see some of the supporting family and friends hop in the boats when it got a little tough.
While we were not the overall winners of the Milton Keynes Dragon Boat Racing Festival, the experience was incredibly rewarding. Seeing the impact of our fundraising efforts on the Willen Hospice filled us with a sense of accomplishment that surpassed any trophy or title. Knowing that our contribution would help provide care, comfort, and support to those in need made the event all the more meaningful.
Participating in the annual Milton Keynes Dragon Boat Racing Festival with a charitable purpose was an unforgettable experience for our team. Beyond the excitement of the races, it allowed us to come together, support each other, and make a positive impact on our community. Our fundraising efforts for the Willen Hospice showed us that, when we unite for a common cause, we can achieve great things. We are already looking forward to next year's festival, eager to continue our tradition of paddling for a purpose and making a difference in the lives of others.
Take a look at some of the pictures from the day: