THIS year's Dragon Boat Challenge on the River Ouse has been cancelled - but York Rotary Club is planning a virtual dragon boat challenge instead.

The race between Scarborough Railway Bridge and Lendal Bridges has been held on the river every year since 2003, with crowds lining the banks to enjoy the spectacle, and it has raised almost £1.2 million for charity.

The club says that 'with great regret,' next month's planned event, which had been due to take place on July 12, has had to be cancelled because of Covid-19 restrictions.

"But instead of this we are organising a “virtual challenge” in order to raise much needed funds for charity," it said,

"The challenge we are setting you is to create a virtual Dragon Boat and “paddle” it 250 metres down the “River Ouse”. The Ouse is 84 km long so we need a minimum of 336 volunteers to each paddle like mad in their own "Dragon Boat".

​"It is open to interpretation of participants as to how the achieve the "Virtual" equivalent of paddling 250 metres, for example “paddling” 50 strokes.

"You could be paddling sitting on a line of chairs using rolled umbrellas for paddles, sitting in wheelbarrows with spades for paddles or even get the paddling pool out! See the pictures above. Will anyone actually paddle the river?

The event will raise funds for the York Teaching Hospital Charity. "All funds raised will go towards a new outdoor wellbeing area, inside York Hospital, to provide a relaxing area for staff.

"We are hoping each individual participant will raise £50 but the more the better to help all our wonderful front line NHS workers in York. So set your own target!

"We encourage fancy dress and even singing as you paddle! Above all, have a good laugh and enjoy yourselves and raise some money for the York Hospital staff at the same time.Don’t forget to video yourselves."

The regular event on the river will be staged again in July 2021.

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