Pink Champagne dragon boat team complete race in festive cheer

Bournemouth Echo: BUBBLY: The Pink Champagne rowing team BUBBLY: The Pink Champagne rowing team

DONNING Santa hats and belting out Christmas tunes, a dragon boat team of breast cancer survivors were named the most festive team in a prestigious race.

Racing against Great Britain internationals, the Pink Champagne team, which trains from Christchurch Harbour completed the Henley Winter series 7.5km race in 42 minutes.

The team formed around six years ago to give women recovering from breast cancer something positive to focus on both mentally and physically.

Captain and coach Wendy Grose said the idea behind the dragon boat team was to encourage women at various stages of breast cancer to unite together and support each other while keeping healthy.

She said: “The support you get is absolutely incredible. We are now all best friends because we understand what it’s like to go through something so difficult.

“My life has changed and now I have a different approach to life.”

With a bright pink boat adorned with a Christmas tree at the helm, the 18 women attracted a lot of attention as they rowed down the Thames to the beat of a drum.

The Pink Champagne team raced against 10 other boats and are the only breast cancer survivors’ team to ever take part in this event.

“We could hear their drum beat behind us but managed to get half way down the course and around the Temple Island before the first boat of burly men overtook us.

“The home leg was tough as we had the wind in our faces and the wash from the boats that were overtaking us.”

At the presentation Pink Champagne won the award for the most festive crew and were given six bottles of bubbly to enjoy on the coach journey home.

The team are planning to take part in an international dragon boat race in Florida next year.

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