BRADFORD should be roaring with pride after thousands of people turned up to support its 2017 Dragonboat Festival, according to the city’s Lord Mayor.

Bumper crowds descended on Roberts Park in Saltaire over the weekend to enjoy the spectacle.

Although the sun did not quite make it for the first races on Saturday, spectators certainly put in the effort in cheering on more than 40 teams from across Yorkshire, including one from the Telegraph & Argus, who took to the River Aire to battle it out in the second day of the three-day festival.

On Saturday, teams were raising money for the Lord Mayor of Bradford, Councillor Geoff Reid’s chosen charity YoungMinds which helps children, young people and their parents to find out about the mental health and wellbeing services that are available to them.

Provi Duck from Bradford-based loans firm Provident Financial was declared the winners of Saturday’s race.

Cllr Reid said: “What a wonderful weekend it’s been. Even though Saturday’s weather wasn’t as good as the day before, the crowds still turned up in their thousands.

“They came from all over the district. People from every community, different cultures and different faiths showing This Is Bradford, this is what Bradford looks like.

“Bradford should be very proud.”

He added there would have to be a wait until all the sums were added up to see just how much the event had made.

“We’ll have to wait a bit, there will be quite a bit of work needing to be done until we get a final total but it will be thousands.”

As well as the racing on the water, other entertainment in the park included live music, an Army inflatable assault course, a climbing wall and Zumba classes.

Members of Bradford Magic Circle were also out and about mingling with the crowds doing tricks and adding to the attractions.

On Saturday, a team from Bradford-based Dreams project, which runs supported accommodation for care leavers in the city, was competing for the second year.

Project director Celiyah Russell said they had a fantastic time.

“It’s not about winning its just taken part that’s important. It was vibey, lovely and family-orientated.”

Bradford Council put out an all-women’s team with chief executive Kersten England on board.

Ms England said: “This is the best of Bradford everybody coming together and everybody enjoying themselves.”

Scull-arly Activity from Bradford College have raised £500 so far for the charity.

Jane George, head of faculty said: “It’s wonderful , it’s great fun. It’s brilliant spending time off duty with colleagues having a good time and raising lots of money.”

One of the many families having fun were the Pettys, of Allerton, who were cheering on mum Sarah in Bradford Council’s Force Of The Future team.

Emily four, Charlie nine and Oliver seven, were watching the dragonboats from the riverside with family friends Sarah Topley, of Shipley, and Kathryn Hill, who travelled from Wakefield.

The Army, Saltaire Brewery and Red Phoenix were all strong contenders in the competition which by Saturday afternoon had drawn in an estimated 15,000 spectators.

The Council’s event manager John Galt said: “Last year was busy but this is bigger. It’s fantastic.”

The festival had opened on Friday with the Bradford Youth Dragon Boat Championship 2017 take to the River Aire.

The free event was open to any secondary school or youth and community group who work with young people aged 11 to 9.

On the final day yesterday, it was the turn of corporate teams to take to the water to raise funds for a variety of chosen charities.