THE ROWERS of Reading roared and heaved their way along the River Thames on Sunday for the second annual Dragon Boat Festival. 

Organised by the Reading Lions Club, the event saw 12m long boat loads of amateur paddlers compete with one another. 

At the end of the day 'Mystery Paddlers' came out on top, beating 'Dunne and Dusted' into second place. 

Awarding the teams their much deserved prizes was Alok Sharma, MP for Reading West. 

He said: “The Reading Dragon Boat Festival was a fantastic opportunity to raise money to support local charities and businesses within the community and I was very pleased to have joined so many people at this brilliant event.

“Congratulations to all of those who competed today and for the money that they raised for excellent causes.

"There is no doubt this event will become an annual fixture and plans are afoot for an event bigger and more successful Reading Dragon Boat Festival in 2018.”

Racing teams used the event as an opportunity to fundraise for local charities, companies and clubs including team entries from Tesco, Cancer Research, Abbey Windows and Jacobs UK.

Sarah Kidd-May, Reading Lions Club Youth Officer, said: “The event was a huge success attended by a lot of people having fun and many raising money for charity at the same time. We really appreciate Alok supporting the event and his patience when events were slightly delayed by a boat capsizing!”