A right Royal River outing: Kingston Royals Dragon Boating Club were proud to have joined the Diamond Jubilee River Pageant
13th June 2012
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On Sunday 3 June 2012 the Kingston Royals Dragon Boating Club received added royal endorsement as it was selected to be one of just 14 dragon boat crews participating in the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant procession. 
16 patriotic club members from London’s top dragon boating team, including a drummer and helm to steer them through the waves and river traffic, took to their 40-foot boat Griffin to join the 1000-vessel strong flotilla travelling the seven-miles from Battersea to Tower Bridge.
Dressed in their trademark royal blue and pink team club colours and with the ladies donning pink tiaras to complete the occasion, the crew were lucky enough to be on the North Bank, passing just metres from the Royal family as they made the 13-mile journey from their starting point in Putney to the final docking area in Poplar.
With cheering spectators waving Union Jack flags at every point along the way, the warmth of the crowds helped override the less than favourable elements to make this an incredible opportunity for all involved.
Having been one of four dragon boats to take part in the first official rehearsal for the pageant on Sunday 19 February, the team had already practiced travelling at the flotilla’s four knot speed limit – a fast walking speed – through London, much to the bemusement of those lucky enough to be on the river at the time. Nothing, however, could have prepared the crew for the enthusiasm they received from the crowds adorning the river banks at the weekend.
Zoe Marshall, a member of the Kingston Royals Jubilee team since 2007, said: “The atmosphere as we paddled down the Thames was incredible, with spectators cheering and waving Union Jack flags from every balcony, boat and inch of riverbank we passed. I know I speak on behalf of the whole club when I say it was an absolute honour to have been selected for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
Ben Hockey, one of two strokers for the Pageant crew, said: "As one of the UK’s first dragon boating clubs, it seems fitting that the Kingston Royals were part of such a historical occasion and we like to think our team did the Queen proud.”
Fellow paddler Suzanne Seyghal added: “Some people may have said it was a shame about the weather but we’re British and couldn’t think of a more fitting way to celebrate a 60 year reign!” 
To try out this friendly team sport why not join the next beginner session with the Kingston Royals on 14 July 2012 at 8.30am. Register your interest on ww.kingstonroyals.com . All ages welcome.
About the Kingston Royals
  • Founded in 1988, the Kingston Royals Dragon Boating Club was one of the first clubs to race in the UK.
  • The Kingston Royals continues to be one of Britain’s most successful clubs and its women’s crew remains National Champions.
  • Thanks to having some of the UK’s top coaches, the team’s members are regularly selected to the Great Britain squads.  In summer 2011 16 club members represented the country as part of Team GB at the World Championships in Tampa, Florida and this summer 16 members will once again be part of the Great Britain Premier and Senior squads competing at the European Championships in Nottingham.
  • Despite its competitive successes, the club prides itself on being Kingston's friendliest and most welcoming club, including members from 18 to over 50 and an equal split of men and women.
About Dragon Boating
  • 2012 is the Year of the Water Dragon and Prince William really helped put the world’s fastest growing water sport on the map last year when he and Kate headed out paddling during their Canadian tour.
  • The unusual sport – which traditionally involves up to 20 male and female paddlers in the same 40-foot boat – originated in China over 2000 years ago and has been fast developing as an international sport over the last few decades.
About the Author

Andrew M

Member since: 10th July 2012

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