On 23 April, St George’s Day no less, we set sail for the Isle of Wight to take part in the Isle of Wight Festival’s inaugural Dragon Boat Race in support of WellChild organised by festival boss, John Giddings.
We had kindly been invited to select a team of Ticketmaster employees to be involved in the race, and with over 300 people taking part we were nervous to find out who our competition would be. Arriving in the beating sun, we were shown to our tent and started to decorate.
Our fearsome team, The Ticketeers, were made up for eleven members: Louise Wooster, Cornel Lazar, Jennifer Cullen, Martina Prendergast, Sherri Cozier, Sarah Slater, Paul Nye, James Bale, Fabiano Soldati, Jon Page, Scott Pountney, and headed up by team leader, Doug Smith.
Next up, the safety briefing. It was here that we really got a good look at our competition and at this point, the nerves kicked in. There were professional rowers mixed in with industry experts and celebrities like Ronan Keating, who looked extremely fit and ready to take on the challenge.
While our enthusiasm was very high, our abilities possibly weren’t so strong… Despite encouragement from our cox, Martina, we came last in the first round. However, we were not to be defeated and having coaxed a couple rowers to join our team we fared much better the next time around, coming in second.
After an action packed day of continuous races, everyone congregated once more for the prize giving. The big news, we did not come last! The better news, John Giddings and his Wight Lightning team came in first.
Despite the merriment of the day, we did not forget the importance of it. At the end, it was announced that a whopping £50,000 had been raised for the Isle of Wight Festival’s chosen charity, WellChild, which provides support to seriously ill children and their families across the UK.
Well done to the winners and thanks for having us, the training begins now for next year.