Paddlers for Life Windermere CIO workshop.

Some paddlers assembled at Ambleside Parish Centre to relaunch the charity under its new Charitable Incorporated Organisation registration.

Workshop participants.

It was an opportunity to look at the history and origins of our dragon boat team.

Louisa started with the theme of the ‘dragon’ and what it means in the context of our charity.

Our object as CIO states…

To relieve sickness and protect and preserve good health for persons facing cancer, in particular but not exclusively breast cancer, or persons in need of rehabilitation as a result of such illness within Cumbria and Lancashire by providing or assisting in the provision for physical activity and recreation, notably Dragon Boating.

Although dragon boating is important to us, our charity is about much more than dragon boat paddling. There are many other things we do which are significant for those who have faced cancer.

Themes visited were, the origins of breast cancer dragon boat paddling worldwide, the founding and formation of Paddlers for Life Windermere and information about the structure of local NHS breast cancer services.

Members were told of a partnership with masters students at Lancaster University Business with a brief to see how the charity could promote its activities and ideas for fund raising. This led to a discussion around publicity and promotion of the charity’s activities to further ensure the widest access for people who could benefit from what we do.

Through the day we heard poems, personal testimony and reflections. We shared food, including cake, with Barbara telling us of the significance of this recipe. We joined activities aimed at helping paddlers to get to know more about each other.

We recalled worldwide connections through international festivals and anticipated Anne and Fiona participating in New Zealand in April 2023.

The kit for the International Participatory Festival in New Zealand as a part of a joint European team.

A penultimate thought returned to the dragon theme and a quilt created by Frances, a paddler from our earlier seasons.

Its caption reads…

Power is in things that dwell in the dark, for there is might in tooth and claw.
But greater strength is there in many united.
The dragon with twenty hearts.
Yet only one heartbeat.
A beast with forty arms yet only one desire
then we challenge the majesty of wind and weather, truly knowing what it is to be strong.

We ended with shared thoughts of what Paddlers for Life Windermere means to each of us as individuals.

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