Oar-some dragon boat race raises more than £1,000 for the Samaritans
A seventeen-strong team of Samaritan volunteers took on the choppy waters of Bristol’s docks and paddled their way to victory in aid of charity.
“It costs about £55k a year to run our branch of Samaritans,” says oarsman and trained Samaritan volunteer Andrew Maxwell.
“All of it is raised by our volunteers and supporters as we receive no statutory funding.”
The team were making waves to raise money for the Bristol branch of the Samaritans at the Rotary Club Dragon Boat Race, an annual fixture to raise money for local charities in Bristol.
Fluorescent green wigs
On 7th June hundreds of people came along to cheer the teams as they rowed the 250 metres alongside Baltic Quay.
Fancy dress dominated the proceedings, with a number of eye catching outfits on display including Dad's Army costumes and Noah's Ark style outfits.
A highlight had to be the Samaritan team which took to its elaborately decorated canoe with each of the crew nattily decked out in fluorescent green wigs and bright blue t-shirts.
“As a team we hoped to raise £1000 and it looks like we've done it!” says Andrew.
Samaritan branches run solely on donations, with all money given to the Bristol centre going into supporting the 55,000 contacts received each year by email, text and phone.
Explaining how the funds raised will be used Andrew says:
“With trained volunteers being unpaid, the contributions are used to keep the branch running on things like providing awareness publicity materials to reach people who are struggling to cope, equipment upgrades and expenses.”
Andrew adds: “Volunteering for the Samaritans is very rewarding as we get to help those people who need support, which we do by allowing them to speak about their difficulties candidly, confidentially and without judgement.”
BT behind us
The team wanted a quick and easy way to raise funds online, and chose MyDonate.
“It's so simple to use,” Andrew says, “having the name of BT behind it gives us and I think other people the confidence to donate there, rather than anywhere else.”