Where It Began

Louisa Balderson and Sue Cogley are the co-founders of Paddlers for Life Breast Cancer Dragon Boat Team. They dreamed of dragon boats on Lake Windermere as a ‘go-ahead’ way to help people ‘live full and fun lives after cancer.’

Both women were diagnosed with breast cancer and, as a result of treatment, developed lymphoedema. They whole heartedly lived the benefits of dragon boat paddling, being in the most beautiful of surroundings and staying active in the outdoors, to help manage their condition.

2008 saw their dream become reality with the help and generosity of family and friends. For over 10 years now, members of the local community, individuals, groups and businesses, continue to support two dragons to ‘live’ at Low Wood Bay Watersports Centre. The Berry Family from English Lakes Hotels are acknowledged for their special friendship with Paddlers for Life.

Sue and Louisa tirelessly coordinated many memorable adventures including the participation in international dragon boat regattas in Singapore, Canada, USA, Ireland and Italy. Closer to home, people affected by all cancers were involved in escorting the Olympic Torch; the greatest quest of them all was taking part in the 2012 Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Pageant on the River Thames.

Back from their experiences, they brought with them –

  • Excitement and thrill
  • The commitment to look after their physical and mental wellbeing
  • Achievements that speak for themselves
  • A growth in knowledge, skills, character and life
  • A fair balance of giving and receiving
  • Courage to help others choose to take part in fun-filled activities.

They discovered a dedicated interest across the South Lakes community in 2015 to create a novel, annual charity dragon boat racing regatta, to be known as Dragon Bay.

Teamwork between Louisa and Sue, English Lakes Hotels and CBA Events event management company provided great fun on and off the water. Giving to a charity of personal choice is strongly upheld as part of an unforgettable, action-packed day.

Paddling a dragon boat, especially on Lake Windermere, made an enormous, positive difference to the lives of Sue and Louisa following breast cancer. Sue, who sadly died in February 2018, always loved to see the smile on the face of paddlers.

Dragon Bay is a great legacy that does just that! Put your team together and get involved now.

Paddles Up!

Louisa Balderson

Sue and Louisa