Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall staff will make waves to raise funds for families needing our care

Big-hearted staff at Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice are taking to the water on Saturday 8th June to compete in the Peterborough Dragon Boat Festival, for which the hospice is charity partner.

"It’s going to be lively, noisy and without a doubt a bit soggy!" says Finance Assistant Diane.

Nurses are swapping their Sue Ryder nursing uniforms for t-shirts and hospice support staff their pens for paddles, to compete against over 40 groups and organisations paddling along the banks of the Peterborough Rowing Club as part of the IKEA-sponsored fabulous day of fundraising.

Our ‘Thorpe Dragons’ team includes Sue Ryder Nurses, some of whom are coming straight from their night shift to take part; a ward clerk; a medical secretary; a human rights lead; and Sue Ryder’s Director of Nursing.

Between them, the team has helped deliver our expert and compassionate palliative care for over 30 years, but have much less experience of paddling a Dragon Boat!

A day out on the water raising vital funds

Diane Deidda is Finance Assistant at the hospice and is drummer for the team.

“This is the first time I have ever taken part in Dragon Boat Racing," she says.  "As team drummer, I will be letting my natural sense of rhythm guide me and the rest of the team!”

She will be joined by Complementary Therapy Lead Helen Spivak.

“I’ve never done this before but I am really looking forward to the atmosphere on the day," she says. "It’s going to be lively, noisy and without a doubt a bit soggy. My friends and family - particularly my two sons - think it is hilarious that I will be rowing as my coordination is rubbish – sorry team!”

Fellow Dragon Boat competitor Jenny Burton has worked at the hospice for 14 years. 

“I haven't undertaken any formal training but I have been out in a White Swan Pedalo with my grandson for an hour," she confides. "I am really looking forward to supporting the hospice, spending a day with work colleagues, seeing everyone have a bit of fun and raising money at the same time.”

The charity’s Human Rights Lead Jacqui Graves is making a special journey from Oxfordshire to Peterborough on the day to join her Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice colleagues on the team.

“It is good to be giving something back to help improve the care for people who need our services," she enthuses. "I am slightly nervous as I have never done a Dragon Boat Race before. I don’t have access to a river or a boat to practice, so it will be on-the-day learning for me! I have been watching some YouTube videos for hints and tips though as I am quite competitive.”

Fellow Dragon Boat crew and Head of Administration/Data Analyst Lisa Manton adds: “I have always thought the Dragon Boat Festival has sounded like real fun, so wanted to be part of the team this year. I am looking forward to a day out on the water helping to raise vital funds for the many local families needing our care.”

Sarah Gigg is Sue Ryder’s Director of Nursing.

“I was asked to support the event by the Hospice Director who is most passionate about the event," she explains. "I'm pleased to be able to support the many people donating money and giving up their time on behalf of Sue Ryder. I do spinning classes and gym work each week but sadly haven’t been able to do any other training. I am looking forward to a new experience and having some fun with great people.”

The crew should plan a team talk with Debbie Smith beforehand, as she is one of the more experienced Dragon Boat Crew members.

“I really enjoyed taking part in last year’s Dragon Boat Race so jumped at the chance to take part again this year," says Debbie,who is Medical Secretary at the hospice. "It is such a fantastic atmosphere. My husband will be on the banks supporting us and shouting encouraging tips as he was a rower in the Sue Ryder team last year too.”

Can we smash this year's £35K fundraising target?

This is the fifth year that our well-loved hospice has been charity partner for the Peterborough Dragon Boat Festival, which is organised by Gable Events, and has seen over £70,000 raised for local people and families needing expert and compassionate palliative care.

Last year alone, £35,000 was raised for the hospice, and it’s hoped this record-breaking amount will be smashed this year to help the hospice give more care to more people.

Nilesh Patel is Senior Community Fundraiser at Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice.

“This is one of the flagship fundraising events for our hospice and the day shows everyone what a big-hearted community Peterborough is to be part of," he says. "It’s fantastic that we have been able to show our own support by entering a team of Sue Ryder staff, who are themselves raising funds for the very care they help give.”

Come along to the Festival

Come cheer on the Thorpe Dragons at the Peterborough Dragon Boat Festival on Saturday 8th June from 10am at Peterborough Rowing Club, Thorpe Meadows.

There will be lots of bank side entertainment and refreshment stalls making it a fun day out for all the family. Find out more info on the Dragon Boat Festival website.

Support Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice’s Dragon Boat team