Soldiers from across the country are preparing to take to the River Thames for Abingdon's annual dragon boat race.

Teams will compete in the Dragon Boat Festival on Sunday in a series of races to raise money for good causes.

Due to Covid last years' Dragon Boat Festival was unable to go ahead and now the event has new organisers.

Previous years have seen the race organised by the Rotary Club of Abingdon Vesper and this is the first year ABF The Soldiers’ Charity have organised the event.

The charity aims to give a lifetime of support to soldiers and veterans from the British Army and their immediate families when they are in need.

ABF The Soldiers’ Charity spends £30K in grants every year to servicemen and veterans in Oxfordshire.

The charity said seven Royal Logistics Corps Regiments will be competing for this coveted trophy currently held by three Regiment, RLC based at Dalton Barracks, Abingdon.

Tim Davies from ABF The Soldiers’ Charity said the race will have units taking part from as far afield as Southampton and Leicester as well as those in Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire, Hampshire and Wiltshire.

Mr Davies said: "None of those taking part have previously been in a dragon boat making the heats interesting as they begin to hone their technique."

As preparation members of the regiments took part in the Row The Thames 346km virtual challenge last March during the lockdown which raised money for London Youth Rowing.

This year each boat will have 16 paddlers plus a drummer and each team will have at least 20 people so that different members can race throughout the day.

The rowers will be going head to head in three heat races followed by the knock-out competition which will reveal the fastest teams for the final.

Previous years have seen participants dressed as everything from pirates and Romans to bright yellow ducks as they battled it out.

The festival is also a family day out and each regiment has been encouraged to bring their BBQ.

The RLC Inter-Regiment Dragon Boat Race will take place on Sunday at Rye Farm Meadow from 11.00am to 6:00pm.

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