LATEST NEWS: Organisers issue warning about Bradford Dragon Boat Festival

THE popular Dragon Boat Festival returns to Bradford this weekend for a three-day event in Saltaire.

There will be a host of teams braving the River Aire at Roberts Park, between Friday, June 30 and Sunday, July 2, in what is the eighth festival.

Each team contains 16 forward-facing paddlers, a drummer and a helmsperson, racing to be crowned the 2023 champions.

In addition, there will be live music and entertainment as well as stalls across the three days.

Organiser John Galt said: "We have much to offer with many teams racing across the three days.

"It will be the usual wondrous sight of colour, noise, fun and excitement, with close racing, spills and people truly enjoying the occasion both landside and on the water."

Friday will involve a number of youth teams battling it out on the water, with different age groups competing against each other throughout the day.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Bradford Dragon Boat Festival in 2022Bradford Dragon Boat Festival in 2022 (Image: T&A Camera Club/William D Oliver)

Saturday will see the Lord Mayor’s Championship take place on day two of the 2023 event.

A total of 45 teams will compete with funds raised in aid of Bradford Hospitals’ Charity’s neonatal appeal.

Three teams from Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust will paddle in the special Lord Mayor’s Day. They are: Neonatal Ninjas (Neonatal Unit), Breaking Waters (Maternity), and X-Raycers (Radiology).

So far the three teams have raised almost £2,500 between them, but you can support their efforts through their JustGiving pages at

Bradford Hospitals’ Charity’s neonatal appeal was the charitable cause chosen by Cllr Martin Love during his mayoral year of 2022/23.

There will be more charity fundraising on Sunday, at the Dragon Boat Festival’s multi-charity championship day, with up to 45 teams paddling it out across two divisions for novice or experienced teams.

Teams can select their own charity to support on this day, and there will also be two more teams raising money for Bradford Hospital’s Charity, including Team Oar-Sam representing Howden Group, along with a team from the Bradford Teaching Hospitals physiotherapy department.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: The X-Raycers team, who are made up of staff from the radiology, are taking part againThe X-Raycers team, who are made up of staff from the radiology, are taking part again (Image: Bradford Hospitals' Charity)

Consultant paediatric radiologist LeeAnne Elliot, who will be competing with the X-Raycers on Saturday, said: “We have thoroughly enjoyed taking part in the race in previous years and we have become increasingly competitive each year!

“Radiology at Bradford Teaching Hospitals has benefited enormously from support from Bradford Hospitals’ Charity, and made many improvements to facilities within our departments for children and young people.

“Our corridors and waiting rooms have been transformed with the help of funds from the charity. We love supporting the charity's fundraising and we are looking forward to the race on the day!”

Bradford Hospitals’ Charity Director Sharon Milner said: “We’re thrilled to have such overwhelming support at this brilliant event and we wish everyone the best of luck as they paddle their way to victory and to raise money to help families with neonatal babies.”

Entry and parking at the festival is free, though those attending are encouraged to use public transport where possible.

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