All aboard for Fairlop dragon boat festival

Hundreds of oriental warriors took to a Redbridge lake to do battle in the name of charity.

The Rotary Dragon Boat Festival played out at Fairlop Waters, Forest Road, Fairlop on Sunday as 22 teams from across the capital clashed for the coveted trophy.

More than 1,200 people crowded the banks of the lake to cheer on the boats as their 16-strong crews raced them the length of the former gravel pit.

The tournament, organised by the Rotary Club of Tower Hamlets together with clubs from Newham and Barkingside, has previously taken place in the Docklands but moved to Redbridge this year after it outgrew its original home.

Victorious paddlers the Windy Pandas were the only experienced dragon boaters on the water. They managed to beat off competition from charities, rotary clubs and Redbridge schools.

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The highest place Redbridge-based crew was the Bees Knees, paddling for the charity Arthritis Support Network based at the Cardinal Heenan Centre, High Road, Ilford. The team, skippered by Recorder reporter Tim Dickens, came third in the nail-biting six-boat final.

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