‘Dragons & Flowers’

Dragons and Flowers Festival 2018

In glorious sunshine, teams from as far afield as Bournemouth and Donegal came together to join in the 2018 Dragons and Flowers event. As ever, the Pool of Life members worked tirelessly to ensure everyone got a real flavour of what it is like to be in a boat, paddle as a team and – for some – cross the finish line in first place. Without the support of member of Amathus, who helmed, gave safety briefings, took photos and acted as race officials, a day such as Dragons and Flowers could not take place. We are indebted to them, and say a huge thank you from all of us.

But the true stars of the day were our competitors, some of whom have been coming back to the event year after year. The sense of competition was palpable, with everyone checking their times for every race, trying to guess who would be in the final.

And what a final it was! Four teams took part – Water Co, Janet’s Gym, the Rotary club and Merseycare. All four had been paddling at sub 1min50 times, and all have taken part in the event before. It could not have been a more closely fought out race, or more exciting finale, if we have scripted it. In fact, if we had scripted it, it would have seemed unbelievable. Just one second separated the winners, from the team which came in fourth place. Here’s a video taken from the pontoon:

As you can see, Water co looked like they were taking the trophy home, but at the very last second, they were beaten by all the other competing boats. Here’s the photo finish, showing just how close a race it was.

Well done Merseycare. Remember, we expect to see you back next year, to defend your title.

Whenever we have events such as Dragons and Flowers, we have some fantastic people who take photos for us, and share them with us. Here are some of the photos taken by supporters on the day:


One of our Amathus paddlers, Edwin Robson, took pictures of the whole day, and has kindly shared them with us through his Flickr account. Here are just a couple of his fabulous photos, but for all the rest please click here

For everyone in Pool of Life, one of the most special parts of the day was the chance to race against three other Breast Cancer survivor’s dragon boat teams, and share our flower ceremony with all these awesome women.

Members from Pink Champagne, Paddlers for Life, Donegal Dragons and Pool of Life all came together to take a minute to remember those who are sadly not with us any more. As the whole dock sat in silence, one of our supporters took a photo of the only cloud to grace the sky in the whole of the day.

 I can clearly see the nose and eye of a dragon, and perhaps it was sent by those who watch over us, their love never far away.

All that remains   for us to say is a massive, massive thank you to all who came along to the event, got into the spirit of the day and made it such a glorious memory to look back on for many years to come.



In preparation of the 2018 Dragons and Flowers event, Pool of Life welcomed members of Pink Champagne to the Liverpool Watersports Centre to join our monthly Pink Paddle.  The sun was shining, the dock looked glorious and there were enough paddlers for two boats.

This is why we do this. The camaraderie, the sense of achievement, the opportunity to meet with other women who have been through the same things that we have, and are living life to the full. Here are some pictures of our wonderful time together:

While everyone enjoyed paddling in the sunshine and getting to know each other better over coffee, some of our most ardent supporters helped decorate the water sports centre. Not before taking some snaps, though 🙂


Now it’s your turn. It’s time to race, to come home victorious and enjoy a fantastic day in the Liverpool sunshine. We can’t wait to see you in action. You are all superstars.


As always the event takes place on the first May bank holiday – May 7 this year – and we are looking forward to welcoming 20 teams, to raise money for charity and compete in a number of categories, both on and off the water.

This year marks our 7th annual event, and, as you can see from some of the photos below or in our gallery, it is colourful, competitive and full of costumes!

To save time on the day,  why not pay all sponsorship money through our dedicated DONATE page, giving you more time to think up your team name and your team theme.

For more information, please contact us

To whet your appetite, here’s some reminders of festivals from former years:

1st May 2017: 6th Annual ‘Dragons & Flowers’ charity Dragon Boat Festival 

Another good day for our Dragons & Flowers event.  The weather was kind to us and there was lots of fun and frivolity down at Liverpool Watersports Centre.  16 teams took part this year, representing a wide range of organisations (gyms, NHS departments, sports groups, charity organisations and local businesses).  Each team took part in 3 races and their two fastest times determined which teams made it through to the ‘Major’ and ‘Minor’ finals.

The trophy results were:

  • Major Trophy 1st – Team Awesome (and they were!)
  • Major Trophy – 2nd – Ellison Builders
  • Major Trophy – 3rd – The Animals
  • Minor Trophy – Warrington Boot Camp
  • Best Fund-Raiser – David Lloyd (£600)
  • Most Improved Team – Marie Curie
  • Best Fancy Dress – Mersey Mermaids

The proceeds from the event will be donated to our 2017 charities, Water Aid (website here) and Pool of Life.  It’s not too late to donate and we encourage teams to gather donations via our MyDonate online donation page: here.  We will issue a fund-raising update on this page when all sponsorship and donations have been collected.

…and the lucky winner of the prize draw for  the original Chris Bibby painting of our Pool of Life boat ‘Hope’ and Liverpool City backdrop was Jo Nash  a member of the ‘Day at the Races’ team. Congratulations Jo!  Photo of the painting here.

Photos from the day are shown below.  Liverpool Echo also paid a visit and published some great photos too (see here).






















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See below for last year’s event……


2nd May 2016: 5th annual ‘Dragons & Flowers’ charity festival

Fund Raising update:

We are proud to announce that we raised a massive £7259.53 in our 2016 Dragons & Flowers charity event – that means £2419.84 for each of the 3 nominated charities.  This is a fantastic result and we would like to thank the teams once again for taking part and for their fund-raising efforts.

On 30th August we met at the Watersports centre for the official cheque handover to Eleanor Smith of Halton Haven Hospice (Water Aid couldn’t be with us on the day).  Representatives from Pool of Life, Amathus and Liverpool Marina were present….

cheque handover D&F 2016

For a reminder of the day, see our event report below…………..

Well, it’s all over for another year and what a day we had.  Despite some testing weather which nearly blew away our gazebos and tents, 18 teams from local companies, charities and hospitals dressed up in amazing outfits and took to the water, racing in 3 heats to determine the 8 finalists for our fantastic trophies and medals…..

D&F 2016 medals and trophies
Dragons & Flowers 2016 Medals and Trophies

We were particularly honoured by the participation of another breast cancer team who travelled all the way from Ireland (the Donegal Dragons).  They really made our day with their cheerleader style, singing at the end of their races and making everybody smile!

D&F 2016 Donegal Dragons
The Donegal Dragons














The winners of the main competition were:

  • 1st Merseycare
  • 2nd Team Awesome
  • 3rd The Animals are Back
D&F 2016 Merseycare NHS team
Overall Winners – team from Merseycare NHS

The most improved team was the Goodfellas Gondola (from Halton Haven Hospice)…

D&F 2016 Goodfellas Gondola
Most Improved team – Goodfellas Gondola











Competition was also fierce for the fancy dress prize, with fabulous costumes from teams with imaginative names such as the Marilyn Munrowers, Grannies Tea Party, Super Herowers, X-Rayted, All Mod Cons, The Animals, Goodfellas Gondola, the Jolly Gondoliers, etc.  The fancy dress prize was awarded to the Grannies Tea Party team (closely followed by the Super Herowers (2nd) and the Marilyn Munrowers (3rd).

D&F 2016 Grannies tea Party
Fancy Dress Winners – Grannies Tea Party (looking arthritic!)
D&F 2016 The Super Herowers
Fancy Dress 2nd prize: the Super Herowers











D&F 2016 Marilyn Munrowers
Fancy Dress 3rd prize: the Marilyn Munrowers

The fund-raising trophy was awarded to the X-Rayted for raising a whopping £450 (closely followed by Jolly Gondoliers with £420, Merseycare with £320 and Team Awesome with £290).

D&F 2016 X-Rayted
Best Fund-Raisers – team X-Rayted

Funds raised through team sponsorship and through sales/collections on the day will be split equally between 3 charities: Halton Haven Hospice, Water Aid and Pool of Life.  It’s not too late to make a donation via our on-line site – please visit the MyDonate site here.  We will announce the final fund-raising total once all sponsorship has been collected.  This will be followed by charity cheque presentations.

More photos from the day can be found on the Pool of Life Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pooloflife/?fref=photo

See our report on the 2015 event below…………….


2015 ‘Dragons & Flowers’ Festival, 4th May 2015

Dragons & Flowers logoPool of Life and Amathus Dragonboat Club hosted their annual charity dragonboat race event at Liverpool Watersports Centre) in aid of Breast Cancer Care, Galloway’s Society for the Blind and Pool of Life.  18 teams had a fantastic day, battling it out for trophies and medals.

Sponsorship and other funds have now been counted and the event raised a total of £12,000 – £4,000 for each of the three charities!  On 18th August we organised a charity cheque handover at the Water Sports Centre.  Commenting on this achievement, Christine Beckwith, Chairperson for ‘Pool of Life’ said “I would like to thank everyone who worked so hard to make the day so successful, we are amazed by your generosity”.

Maureen Burke, Ann Coffey & Amy Morgan, local Breast Cancer Care volunteers, added “A huge thank you to the Liverpool Pool of Life Dragonboat Ladies team for their wonderful donation of £4000 to Breast Cancer Care UK. Your hard work fundraising is very much appreciated & will go a long way to keep Breast Cancer Care’s work in supporting patients ongoing”.

Anna Scott, Community Fundraiser for Galloway’s said “We are really grateful to Pool of Life for choosing to support Galloway’s through their annual ‘Dragons and Flowers’ festival.  This year we have to raise £1 million to be able to continue our services to local blind and partially sighted people – helping them to live independently while having the same opportunities that the sighted world can often take for granted.  Support from community groups like ‘Pool of Life’ goes such a long way in helping us reach our goal.”

 Charity cheque handover 18th AugustCharity cheque handover 18th August

Photos from the day…(more photos on gallery page here)…

  • Fastest team: 1st place: Team Awesome
  • 2nd Place: Merseycare Dragons
  • 3rd Place: Cobden Flyer
  • Best Fancy Dress: Don’t Rock the Boat
  • Most Improved Crew: Honolulu Halton
  • Best Fund-raiser: Cobden Flyer (£2220 promised!)
Team Awesome take 1st place
Team Awesome take 1st place
2nd Place: Merseycare Dragons
2nd Place: Merseycare Dragons




3rd Place: Cobden Flyer
3rd Place: Cobden Flyer






'Don't Rock the Boat' with their amazing fancy dress outfits!
‘Don’t Rock the Boat’ with their amazing fancy dress outfits!














Honolulu Halton - Most Improved Team
Honolulu Halton – Most Improved Team


Cobden Flyer: Best Fund-raising team
Cobden Flyer: Best Fund-raising team

Pool of Life May 3rd 2015 196

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