Canary Wharf businesses raised nearly £23,000 for WaterAid as the South Dock hosted the estate’s first ever dragon boat competition on Thursday (July 7).

Some 15 teams, including those from KPMG, Paysafe and WallStreetDocs, took to the tranquil waters to claim the competition’s debut title.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Neon Bandits team won – their members belonging to local dragon boat clubs in the area. Canary Wharf Group’s security team and Clausematch earning their second and third places respectively.

Watching on was cake queen Kim-Joy Hewlett, star of Great British Bake Off 2018. She said, “I came down to support my brother Kenneth who is part of the Neon Bandits team. I didn’t know he was into Dragon Boat Racing before so thought I’d come down to watch him raise money for a good cause. It’s been a lovely day in the sunshine!”

Show of speed

Emma Kempton, of Clausematch, said, “We are a super competitive bunch and were happy to give this our best shot so far as this is our first time.”

Special awards for the best dressed competitors also went to Clausematch whose aquatic themed costumes stood out from the crowd and Yondr Group who were crowned the top fundraising team bringing an impressive £4,962 to the cause.

Lucie Moore, associate director, Arts & Events at Canary Wharf Group, said: “The Dragon Boat race is an incredible day where our office community come together to battle it out in a show of speed and determination, have fun with their colleagues and most importantly, raise money for charity.”

Corinne Stone, of WaterAid, said: “We’re proud to have brought together people of all ages and abilities for this event and based on the turnout and fundraising efforts from our fellow local businesses it was not only a brilliant team day out for all involved, but one that will have a real impact.”

Read more: Dishoom to bring the taste of Bombay to Canary Wharf

Dragon boat fact file

The sport of dragon boat racing has its roots in an ancient folk ritual of contending villagers, which dates back 2000 years throughout southern China, and even further to the original games of Olympia in ancient Greece. Both dragon boat racing and the ancient Olympiad included aspects of religious observances and community celebrations, along with competitions.

It began as a modern sport in Hong Kong in 1976.