South Yorkshire dragon boat race is an oar-some success

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Schools and businesses made a splash when they went head to head in a fundraising race in Rotherham.

The calm waters of Manvers Lake looked more like the rough seas as 16 teams tackled an annual Dragon Boat Challenge.

The Stafforce pirates prepare to compete.

The Stafforce pirates prepare to compete.

Spectators lined the edge of the lake in Wath-Upon-Dearne to watch the event, organised to raise money for Phase Worldwide at the trust that runs the lake.

The charity is based in Percy Street, Rotherham, and helps fund healthy living and education projects in some of the poorest villages in Nepal.

Local schools and businesses boarded the 30ft-long brightly painted Chinese dragon boats to battle it out in the heats and semi-final, before a grand final across the 200-metre course.

Many came in fancy dress or a rowing uniform to ensure they stood out from their competitors.

It looked set for a photo finish as Oakwood School, Stafforce Pirates and the Presidents Team were neck and neck, with just a second between the three boats as they crossed the finish line to cheers from spectators.

The Oakwood School team was crowned the winner after beating their opponents by a dragon’s breath.

Other teams included ones from Willmott Dixon, Keepmoat and Rotherham College of Arts and Technology.

Revellers enjoyed the entertainment with stalls and rides on the lakeside.

Sarah Galvin, director of Phase, said it was the third time the event had been held.

She said: “We expect to raise over £5,000 for Phase and Manvers Lake Trust.

“Oakwood School won but there was less than a second in it!”

The cash will be used to fund the charity’s ongoing work to improve health, education and livelihood opportunities in rural Himalayan areas.