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On Saturday 1st June businesses from across Lancashire took part in the North & Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce annual ‘Dragon Boat Challenge’.

The event, established in 2012, is now a staple in the Chamber’s events calendar, with 13 teams entering and over 300 attendees and spectators at Preston Marina.

The early morning start coupled with the overcast and drizzly conditions did not put off competing teams from enjoying the experience.

Natalie Weyer of Northern Industrial Controls said, ‘I would like to thank The Chamber of Commerce for such a fantastic event. All the team thoroughly enjoyed the day and the rain didn’t dampen our spirits. It was our first time taking part in the event and I don’t think it will be the last. Being a family run business, taking part in a team event was right up our street and our team was made up of people from all different departments, coming together with a common goal, to win. Even though we didn’t quite manage that, we are proud of our achievements and making it into the semi-final’. 

The structure of the day ensured each of the competing teams had three, two boat races over 200 meters, where they would attempt to set their fastest time in order to qualify for the four boat semi-finals.

There were some excellent times being set in the heats with Ainscough Training Services setting the quickest time of 01:08:46, which was just under four seconds quicker than the nearest boat!  

Each of the semi finals were then a straight race between four teams with the two across the finishing line first taking their place in the final.

After two exceptionally close semi-finals the best four best teams from the day battled it out in the grand final. Ainscough Training Services, AM Services Group, First Trace Heating & Forsberg Services were all lining up to see who would take home the trophy.

In what was the closest final we have ever seen at the ‘Dragon Boat Challenge’ with a time of 01:08:89, beating second place by less than half a second, AM Services Group were crowned the winners.

The reaction of the winning team was fantastic with them jumping, cheering and hugs between the whole team. You could see what it meant to them to win the competition. 

Paul Nelson, AM Services Group & team Captain said “This year was the 4th year that AM Services Group attended the Dragon Boat Race run by NWLCC. It is always a great day and is an opportunity to bring together colleagues from all over our business in one place with family and friends too. This year our team was made up of people from every division – security, cleaning, specialist industrial cleaning and washrooms; across the geography we currently operate in – Stoke on Trent up to Middlesbrough and all points in between; and at all levels of the business  – from site operatives to the CEO. We also had lots of support from other colleagues, friends and family which gives the day an even better buzz!”

A huge congratulations to AM Services Group in their victory, and to all the competitors who took part in the day.

Companies taking part in the challenge included AM Services Group, Ainscough Training Services, First Trace Heating, Forsberg Services, OMNI RMS, BS Stainless, Northern Industrial Controls, Trelleborg Offshore, Virtue Technologies, UCLan Law, F2 Chemicals, Farley’s Solicitors and the Chamber.

The ‘Dragon Boat Challenge’ is a fantastic day not only for competition, but for businesses to bring their staff to build those all-important team working skills.

Babs Murphy, Chief Executive of the North & Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce said, “The Chambers Dragon Boat Challenge is always terrific team building event which is supported by many of our members. It is one of the world’s fastest-growing participation sports.  On Saturday there was a lot of friendly rivalry but a great atmosphere.  It was certainly a close call between the top teams with AM Services just pipping Ainscough Training Services at the post. We’ll be back for 2020 challenge but in the meantime if anyone wishes to start their training early, Preston has its own Dragon Boat Club based on the docks”.

After a successful day at the Marina, the Chamber is pleased to announce that the event will be returning in 2020 over the same weekend, and would encourage businesses from across Lancashire to secure their place by contacting the Chamber.    

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