Dragons afloat as Titivators launch new vessels

THE dragon glided majestically down the Kalang River, escorting its cargo of 16 pink ladies safely to shore.

The magnificent beast was one of two new members of Coffs Coast breast cancer survivors' dragon boat club, The Titivators.

The group officially launched their very own dragon boats - purchased with the $17,000 raised from a single gala event last May - in the company of about 100 supporters at the Bellinger River Sailing Club, Urunga, on Saturday.

Titivators co-ordinator Sue Costello said the group, which formed about two years ago, had previously practiced their paddling in a 'rickety old tub' which they rented.

The two boats, a full-size competition vessel designed to hold 20 paddlers, and a half-size one for training, were imported from China.

"The ceremony on Saturday has really given us vigor," Ms Costello said yesterday.

"The group is here to stay, until they find a cure. For breast cancer survivors to be able to paddle together and experience the mateship and support we give each other is wonderful.

"It has changed my life. Once you go though a life-threatening illness you reassess what it is all about and you let your hair down. It's great to have the group around you and we just laugh so much."

The ceremony included an Aboriginal welcome by Aunty Ruth; a blessing and chant by about 15 Buddhist Monks; a Christian blessing from an Anglican Church minister; a special 'flowers in the water' ceremony and a minute of silence to commemorate those who lost their battle with breast cancer; a racing start demonstration; and a paddle guard of honour as the Titivators disembarked their vessel.

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