DRAGON boat racers made a big splash for charity when they took to the water in Poole Park Lake yesterday.

Under beautiful sunny skies more than 260 people took part in 14 teams made up of friends’ groups, pub teams or colleagues from local businesses – raising an impressive £20,000 for charity Diverse Abilities Plus.

And there was plenty of competitive spirit across the 500m course as paddles flew and drums, beaten by a drummer at the head of each boat, rang out over the cheering spectators.

All the teams competed against each other throughout the day in three heats, which culminated in semi-finals and a final. Following the racing there was a short awards ceremony. Team NFB came out as the fastest on the day while Swampy Bogglers raised the most money – bringing in £3,301 – and Furzey Flyers were the combined winners.

There was also a myriad of entertainment laid on for families watching from the shore, including giant games, limbo, face painting and a craft workshop.

The event, one of the biggest fundraisers of the year for the Dorset-based charity, was sponsored by Spectrum Housing group. It was a huge success, according to Sharon Wells from the charity.

She told the Echo: “It was a beautiful day and everyone really enjoyed it. It got quite competitive out there, but it was overall lots of fun. It’s fantastic that so many people get behind the charity. The money will go towards all the support and services that the charity provides for children and adults with disabilities in Dorset.”