On the occasions a company gets to give back to the community, it’s always hard to choose how you would do so. Do you simply make a donation straight into their bank account or do you try and incorporate all the things you love into doing good?
Well of course for an events company with a love of the outdoors and well-rehearsed in organising large scale activities, it was always going to be the latter for us at CBA Events.
Our aim was to raise as much money as possible for Paddlers for Life – a charity that aims to support and help those suffering from cancer through physical activity – as well as being a hugely fun day for all the participating teams.
With the beautiful surroundings of the Lake District on our door step it would be rude not to host an event on the water that incorporates the main form of rehabilitation that Paddlers for Life concentrate on – dragon boating.
Now in its fourth year and the second year run by CBA Events, we knew what to expect when starting to organise the event but, as with everything in this industry, there are always new hurdles to overcome.
The event location was The Low Wood Bay Resort and Spa, one of the Lake District’s jewels positioned on the shores of Lake Windermere. Low Wood Bay has been involved since the start and appointed CBA Events to manage the event on behalf of Paddlers for Life.
Secondly, and arguably more importantly, were the teams. Event organiser, Jess Mattinson, had the task of securing teams.
“Our first port of call was contacting companies and organisations that had taken part previously and many of these were only too happy to be involved again this year” said Jess.
“We also approached other Cumbrian businesses who were keen to learn more, support the worth-while course, raise money for their own charity as well as treat it as a team event for them and colleagues.”
We quickly reached the target of twelve willing signed up teams but unfortunately due to dangerously high winds forecast for the first advertised date, we were forced to take the decision to postpone the event.
With a new date set for three weeks later, only five teams could still take part due to other commitments; Castle Park School, Conlon Construction, James Fisher Shipping Services, NHS Morecambe Bay and the Low Wood Health Club.
We woke to dark clouds and sure enough the heavens opened (and did not close again until the very last participant had left) however human spirit inevitably shone through and in particular everyone’s desire to win!
After our safety briefing and a mass warm up led by Low Wood’s health club, it was time to take to the water.
Conlon Construction were an early front runner, putting all organised practise runs to full use, recording an impressive time of one minute and six seconds. Second and third was almost a dead heat between James Fishers and Castle Park School, separated by the finest of margins.
Luckily for the participant’s backsides, the day was not all about sitting in soggy boats – the teams were briefed to come in fancy dress, to prepare their strongest team for a tug of war contest and to get their creative juices flowing in order to perform their own team haka. They were to be judged by the managing CBA Events team and Ben Berry, host for the day and local councillor.
Yet again the teams pulled out all the stops – with Conlon winning tug of war, NHS Morecambe Bay awarded best fancy dress and James Fishers displaying the most imaginative haka.
As the rounds continued, the teams were whittled down to the fastest three – Conlon Construction, James Fishers and Low Wood Health Club.
It was a tight contest but Conlon Construction grabbed the win, with a time of one minute and eleven seconds, closely followed by Low Wood Health Club with one minute 12 seconds and James Fishers coming third with one minute twenty-six seconds.
As the sun started to appear from behind the clouds it was time to hand out awards to everyone involved (as well as a couple of wet but very loyal dogs) and pose for some team photos.
It always feels good giving something back into the community, especially when you do it in style. Conlon Construction for example raised a staggering £3,000 for their chosen charity The North-West Children’s Support Group.
Jess echoed this: “Despite relying on the unpredictable Lake District weather, it’s definitely worth holding the event in order to raise awareness of Paddlers for Life.
“The participants all had a great time and most importantly money was raised for some wonderful charities.”
We cant wait for Dragon Bay 2018!