Now in its 19th year, the race sees businesses from across Birmingham battle it out in a series of heats along the Birmingham and Worcester Canal in 20ft traditional Chinese longboats.

Last year, the funds raised at the Dragonboat Race helped Cure Leukaemia raise an additional £1m to fully fund the £3.4m redevelopment of the Centre for Clinical Haematology at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, doubling its capacity.

Despite taking home the ‘Paddle of Pity’ last year, the Cure Leukaemia team – this year made up of staff from the newly expanded Centre – is feeling confident as they prepare to take to the water with the former footballer, blood cancer survivor and Cure Leukaemia Patron Geoff Thomas as their captain.

Senior Charge Nurse at the Centre for Clinical Haematology Dave Waldron said: “We are immensely proud to be representing Cure Leukaemia at the Dragonboat Race this year.

Thanks to the Cure Leukaemia’s efforts last year and the continued support of Brindleyplace, the expanded Centre has allowed us to improve the experience of patients, as a result, bringing waiting times down dramatically since the Centre opened in January this year. For this reason, we’re keen to do our bit to raise as much as we can for the charity.

Seventeen boats are currently signed up to take part in the Dragonboat Race, including 2017 champions Kind Group alongside Jaguar Land Rover, Deutsche Bank, The ICC and The VOX, Mitchells & Butlers, Interserve, Bromford Industries, Clearwater International, Birmingham City FC, Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce, GVA, KPMG and The Binding Site.

Karl Edge, Midlands Regional Chairman and Birmingham Office Senior Partner at professional services firm KPMG, said: “I’m delighted that we have a team taking part in the Dragonboat Race at the first Brindleyplace Family Festival this year. Having had a tour of the expanded Centre for Clinical Haematology recently, I know that every penny raised will go towards supporting a world class facility right here in Birmingham and, most importantly, these funds will directly benefit patients battling all forms of blood cancer. I hope the team have great fun on the day, raise lots of money in the process and bring home the Dragonboat trophy!”

Part of the first ever Brindleyplace Family Festival, the annual Dragonboat Race is just one of the activities taking place this year with various workshops taking place throughout the day from street dance to penalty shootout challenges with the Birmingham City Football Club mascot Beau as well as magical performances and a ‘James in the Giant Peach’ inspired story corner in Central Square.

To find out more about the activities at the Brindleyplace Family Festival, visit