TEAMS of fundraisers put their best paddle forward in a dragon boat racing event in Bournemouth.

Members of the Pink Champagne Breast Cancer Survivors Dragon Boat team organised the annual fundraising festival at Hengistbury Head Outdoor Centre.

Eleven teams of supporters from schools and companies raced throughout the afternoon, with each boat allocated 16 paddlers and a drummer to race 200 metres alongside the centre.

MK Estates claimed the Dragon Boat Festival trophy.

Writing on their Facebook page after the event, they said: “We are delighted to have come first place today, it’s been a fantastic (exhausting!) day. The team really pulled together everything they had to beat the second place team by just a fraction. You were all brilliant!

“The team at Pink Champagne have worked so hard to make this event happen, and many of them have been there since the early hours of today. It’s a great cause and we are honoured to have been part of it today.”

Another team who celebrated winning one of the qualifiers was the Burgate Dragons, made up of staff from The Burgate School.

Deputy head teacher Paddy Padfield said: “It’s the first time we’ve taken part. We did this to support a colleague who is part of the Pink Champagne crew.

“It’s been great fun, but tough, and we’re really chuffed we won our race by one second.”

The Pink Champagne charity was founded nine years ago by a group of cancer specialists from Bournemouth and Poole Hospitals who recognised the benefit of strenuous exercise on the upper body after treatment for breast cancer.

The all-pink dragon boat team returned victorious from racing in Spain over Easter.

They have added gold, silver and bronze medals to their trophy cabinet, with captain and coach, Wendy Grose, saying she is "immensely proud of the whole team".

Secretary Ann Scovell said the annual festival was the charity’s main fundraising event, with a total of around £7,500 raised this year.

“Everybody had a fantastic day,” she said.

“I’m pleased with how it’s all gone, the forecast for Sunday was not good but it was lovely.”

She added: “Two of our members work in schools and they rallied the troops. We’ve also had groups of friends and colleagues take part.

“Four girls from Santander came along to help us, and whatever money they raise on their stall, the bank will match.”

Pink Champagne are now raising funds to enable them to attend the International Breast Cancer Survivors Dragon Boat Festival to be held in Florence when most of the 195 worldwide breast cancer squads will be represented.