Gong Hey Fat Choy! Entries are open! Cambridge Dragon Boat Festival 2023

Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust (ACT) has joined once again with the event organisers NewWave Events to launch the 17th Cambridge Dragon Boat Festival and what better time to announce this news than Chinese New Year!

Cambridge dragon boat festival team on water

The 2023 Festival takes place on Saturday 9th September on the River Cam at Fen Ditton and is one of the largest and most eagerly anticipated team events in the region. Over 30 crews representing companies and organisations from all over Cambridgeshire and surrounding areas are expected to battle it out over the 200m racecourse. The teams will also be raising vital funds for ACT, the only charity that supports Addenbrooke’s and the Rosie hospitals.

Dragon boat racing has an ancient Chinese history dating back 2,000 years and according to the Chinese calendar, 2023 is the year of the Rabbit. In Chinese culture, the Rabbit is a symbol of longevity, peace and prosperity. 2023 is predicted to be a year of hope. People born in the Year of the Rabbit are believed to be vigilant, witty, quick-minded and ingenious.

By entering a dragon boat crew and raising money for ACT, the teams will be helping to raise much needed funds for cutting edge technology, additional specialist services, vital research and extra comforts for patients that make all the difference over and above what would be possible through NHS funding alone.

ACT Chief Executive, Shelly Thake, said:

“We are truly honoured and very excited to be the charity of choice for Cambridgeshire’s Dragon Boat Festival for the sixth year running. Last year, our supporters raised an amazing £12,000 either by taking part in the race itself, or coming along on the day. A big thank you to everyone who helped to make last year’s festival such a success, every penny raised for ACT helps to make your great hospitals even better.”

Alicja Mierzejewska, Executive Director at NewWave Events, said: “We are thrilled to announce that the event will run again in 2023! The event raised an amazing amount for ACT in 2022 and we are hoping to beat this in 2023! We are super excited to see all the amazing companies that enter year on year and we are also looking forward to seeing some new ones! Our dragons are ready and waiting, so see you all this summer for a great day of fundraising and teambuilding!””

Lucy Morton, Executive Director at NewWave Events, said: “The Cambridge Dragon Boat Festival is definitely one of my favourite events and I am so glad we can now bring this back to the city once again. To be able to continue the partnership with Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust (ACT) for 2023 is just the icing on the cake for the come-back of this event! We are all systems go now at NewWave with the preparations and cannot wait to welcome teams and spectators back for the 17th year!”

No previous experience is required to take part, just plenty of team spirit so why not take up the challenge? The dragon boats, qualified helms and all racing equipment are provided, and each crew is guaranteed a minimum of three races. The festival offers a full day of fun on land as well as water with activities on the bankside to entertain teams and spectators. The event is supported by Cambridge Edition and Cambridge Independent.

The team raising the most money for ACT will be awarded the charity trophy and receive the special prize of a Punting Tour along the River Cam courtesy of Let’s Go Punting.

For further information and to book your place on the start line please visit or call NewWave Events on 01536 674 748.

To find out more about the vital work of Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust please call Donna Lee-Willis, Head of Community Fundraising on 01223 217757 or visit 


Please find attached photos of the Cambridge Dragon Boat Festival, courtesy of Magdalena Sienicka Photography


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