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St Catherine’s Dragon Boat Festival a HUGE success



St Catherine’s Hospice Dragon Boat Festival burst back into Tilgate Park yesterday (10 September) for an ‘oar-some’ day of free, family fun.

The Worshipful Mayor of Crawley, Councillor Brian Quinn officially opened the event as crowds came out to cheer on more than 35 teams made up of local businesses including Crawley teams: A Band of Brothers, Avios, B&CE, CS Cable Jointing, CW Security, CAE, Harwoods, KPMG, Metrobus, OCS Tilgate, Outdoor Military Fitness (OMF), Search, St Catherine’s, The Hawth, Transvalair and Vines of Gatwick BMW and MINI.

Speaking before the race Charlotte Bruce from Metrobus, who also supplied a free park and ride bus for the festival, said:

“We’re taking part in today’s event as our staff and their families have used the hospice so for us, it’s a really important charity to support.”

Traditional fundraising stalls, like china smash and a coconut shy encouraged people of all ages to donate money to their local hospice, whilst an inflatable pirate course, biscuit decorating and surf simulator kept younger visitors entertained. People enjoyed food from a range of vendors and drinks from Sussex Events Bars, an onsite bar that served a special Dragon Spritz and gave a percentage of its profits to St Catherine’s.

The Hawth Team

On the lake, teams showed true team spirit as they battled it out in a series of races in Chinese Dragon Boats but it was Terry’s Paddlers who found their sea legs to be crowned the 15th Dragon Boat champions and take away this year’s trophy with a winning time of 59 seconds.

CAE Training & Services

Matt O’Leary, crew captain of Terry’s Paddlers said:

“It’s been such an amazing day! I’m really impressed with the event, so much goes into it, and we’re really proud to walk away with this year’s trophy.”

KPMG team

Coming in at second place was Assurity Consulting and taking third place was Vines Beemer who were reigning champions from last year. The winning teams were presented with medals and trophies by Terry O’Leary, Chair of Trustees at St Catherine’s.

Metrobus Team

St Catherine’s Dragon Boat Festival is one of the hospice’s biggest annual fundraisers and is on target to raise £50,000, to help St Catherine’s provide expert end of life care to local terminally ill people and their friends and family, when life comes full circle.

Terry Paddler’s – 2017 Dragon Boat Champions

Vines of Gatwick proudly sponsored the festival alongside entering a team. Darren Buche, MINI Sales Executive at Vines of Gatwick said:

“Once again, St Catherine’s Dragon Boat Festival was a fun-filled and energetic day! It was fantastic to see so many people come out to show their support and an ideal chance for us, as a local business, to show our gratitude for the work St Catherine’s does to help terminally ill people in our local community. Every year it’s a pleasure to be involved, and if your business missed out this year get yourself on the waitlist for next year. It really is an event not to be missed!”

OMF team shot

Suzanne Davis, Philanthropy Coordinator at St Catherine’s, said:

“We’d like to thank everyone who took part, volunteered or attended this year’s festival for helping us raise vital funds so we can continue to be there for people when they need us most.”

To find out about future St Catherine’s events, or how you can support the hospice, visit:

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Crawley School raises an incredible £13,250 for local charity

Oriel High School students raised the huge sum through a charity walk.



Oriel High School students chose The Olive Tree Cancer Support Centre which is attached to Crawley Hospital as their chosen charity for their sponsored walk this year.

The students managed to raise an astounding £13,250.

Alyson Smith, Fundraising manager for Olive Tree Cancer Support was presented with a cheque with more money still coming in.

Alyson said:

“As a small charity this is such amazing news to us. The Olive Tree Cancer Support Centre is a small, independent charity based in Crawley which has provided free support, advice, friendship and therapies to thousands of people in the local area and is a hugely valuable and much appreciated resource.

The Olive Tree, which began as a small cancer support group over 21 years ago in Crawley, provides a haven: somewhere to go and be with people who understand and can help. Our team of 85 volunteers offers free information, advice and therapeutic care to support all those affected by cancer from the point of diagnosis, through treatment and beyond. The Olive Tree supports the friends, families and carers as well as the individual experiencing cancer.”

The charity offer complementary and emotional support therapies. They say the complementary therapies can help to reduce stress, alleviate the side effects of cancer treatments and enhance feelings of well-being. They also offer acupuncture, aromatherapy, massage, reflexology, craniosacral therapy and Reiki.

Their emotional support is offered through counselling, art counselling, coaching, hypnotherapy and mindfulness workshops and they also run several support groups, which provide an informal environment for people to come together and support.

The charity also point out that their range of services is continually evolving and currently includes yoga, singing workshops, and a wig scheme.

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