Amazonians and Gargareans – paddling to victory!

01 Jan 2021  |   Michelle Baker

When it comes to a fun day out, nothing tops a dragon boat festival, especially if you’re a member of a competing team.  For the past 5 years, the Melanoma Fund has entered a team into the Bewl Water Dragon Boat Festival, always with the hope of winning, and this could be THEIR year.

On September 4th, from 8.00 am the fun begins. Captained by the charity’s CEO, Michelle Baker, and fitness expert, Emily Stevens, each member will don their warrior outfits, erect a gazebo and get serious!

The team, which has been in training all year (to strengthen those paddle arms and shoulders), was selected not only for their athletic form but for their all-important competitive spirit. From PTs, running coaches, fitness fanatics, to experienced paddlers they are not only banking on a great day of fun, but they are also in it to WIN it!

Welcome the men!

In 2019 ‘The Amazonians’ paddled out in true style, and although they didn’t make the final, they were the fastest all-women crew on the day.  This year, the ladies will be joined by ‘The Gargareans’ a team of ultra-fit fellas who all understand the importance of technique, rhythm, balance, and focus in getting the boat to excel, instead of brute force, a mindset that has seen many a boat capsize!

This is a much-loved video of The Amazonians reacting to a competing boat of men who started laughing at the cox, Emily Stevens’ strategy of counting strokes. Not only did this provide the firey focus it needed to beat the men, but provided memories of a race that will never be forgotten!


The Amazonians and Gargareans have been kindly sponsored by Jewson, Tunbridge Wells, who also supported the Melanoma Fund in 2018. This support, championed by branch manager, Mark Scott, means that all donations raised go directly to the charity and not for boat hire.  The leading construction firm has also covered the cost for a rehearsal session on the water the evening before, a vital maneuver to help ensure a good time on the day.  Stickers will be displayed on Jewson lorries and in-store in the lead-up to the event, with FREE SunSense sunscreen available to all customers who enter the in-store raffle to win a tool bag filled with goodies.


All crew members have been given a minimum target of £100, helping raise valuable donations for the Melanoma Fund, with many organising their own fundraisers to help secure support.  Each crew member has built their own fundraising page as part of the team, enabling individual donations to the cause. Simply visit the main Just Giving page and search for members to donate personally.

Sharing and supporting

The charity and the crew will be sharing images and videos on the day to help hit the £3,000 target. Your support either by sharing this blog, pledging a donation, or turning up on the day to cheer them on will really help, making a fun day, something that actively impacts melanoma and other forms of skin cancer.  What are you waiting for?

Get involved!

To donate visit  and to find out more about the Melanoma Fund visit