Sixty school teachers and staff are swapping the classroom for a dragon boat in a bid to raise £3,000 in memory of their friend and colleague.

Three teams from Hadley Learning Community secondary school will take to the waters of the River Severn in Shrewsbury to put their rowing abilities to the test at our Dragon Boat Festival on July 6.

They’ve registered for the challenge in memory of Samantha Webster – a teacher at the Telford school – who was cared for by us after being diagnosed with an aggressive cancer.

Sam, formerly Beale, who was 33 when she died, married her sweetheart Alec at our Telford hospice after our staff pulled out all the stops to make sure the couple could enjoy the perfect big day with family and friends.

Maths teacher, Gaby Hickman, says Sam is sorely missed by everyone at the school and they’ve chosen to register for the event to celebrate her life.

“Sam was a happy person who was always positive and smiling,” said Gaby. “So we thought what better way to celebrate her life than by taking part in something fun whilst collecting money for Severn Hospice.

Credit - Sally Ashworth Photography

“We have three boats – that’s 60 of us – competing in this year’s Dragon Boat race. We’re going to wear our smiles like Sam always did and hope to raise at least £3,000 for the charity.

“We’ve had loads of support already – every donation, big or small, will help towards our target and help the hospice continue their fantastic work.”

The charity’s annual Dragon Boat Festival will take place over the weekend of July 6 to 7 and help fund comforting care and emotional support for families living with incurable illnesses.

Spectators are set to line the banks of the River Severn – by the Shrewsbury School and Pengwern Boat Clubs – to support teams racing 40ft dragon boats along the waters.

Our events fundraiser, Hannah Gamston, said: “We’ve all been so touched by the story of Sam and her husband Alec since they tied the knot at our hospice last year.

“It’s so lovely that the school’s staff will be taking part in our Dragon Boat Festival to celebrate the life of Sam while helping to fund care for local people and their families who need us in the future.

“Signing up for events like this is a fantastic way to take part in a fun activity with family, friends and colleagues while raising money for us.”

There are a wide variety of teams taking part each year and everyone is welcome to register a team between 11 and 20 per people per boat.

Registration costs £350 per team (which is a non-refundable deposit) and each group are asked to raise a minimum of £1,000 in sponsorship – equivalent of £50 per person for a team of 20.

Racing will take place between 10am and 3pm on Saturday and Sunday.

To register your team or for more information go click here or call our fundraising team on 01952 221350. 

If you would like to donate to Hadley Learning Community’s Just Giving page click here.


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