The Great Dragon Boat Race

The Great Dragon Boat Race

On Sunday 11 Aug 2019, I took part in The Great Dragon Boat Race at Hetton Lyons Country Club along with 19 other friends. 

The Great Dragon Boat Race was a fantastic opportunity to raise funds for The John Drummond Trust, which was set up in September 2016 in memory of John who sadly passed away with bowel cancer at the age of just 33 years of age.

John or ‘Jeano’ as he was known was one of my closest friends spanning back to our university days where we used to sit up all night talking about music, art and design, usually drinking, laughing and telling stories. He was actually one of the only people I could ever talk to about my love of Radiohead. We must have seen hundreds of bands together ranging from dance, reggae, world music, indie, raves and everything else in-between. Jeano was responsible for opening my mind to a lot of new things, both musically and culturally. When we lived together he told me a different fact everyday. I just really wish he could tell me one more.

Jeano was a school teacher at Oxclose Community School and was so passionate about his job, helping a lot of pupils in his time there, often out of hours and especially those who needed it most. He was also a keen rugby player, playing for Sunderland RFC and an all round amazing person. He would do anything for anyone. It is safe to say that we all miss him very much.

Staying true to John’s passions, The John Drummond Trust was set up with the objectives of supporting and helping education worldwide. Through valuable support and donations, it has lead to the funding of a new classroom building for a Masaai village school in Kenya as well as paying for teachers’ wages, iPads have been bought and sent out to a school in the Northern Territory, Australia, amongst many other highlights.

A secondary objective is to improve amateur sport, with a £5,000 donation given to Sunderland RFC to help build a new stand, as well as sponsoring the away strips and also sponsoring the Sunderland Flames 2019 tour. Money and support was also provided towards local lad Josh Waddell’s Paralympic fund.

Lastly, the Trust have an objective in relation to improving health. It is within this objective that the Trust donates to existing cancer charities. Over £16,000 has been donated and that includes a huge £13,000 to Bowel Cancer UK alone.

To date, over £38,000 has been donated to those who need it most. A truly wonderful effort to everyone who has helped over the past three years.

The Great North Dragon Boat Race is a yearly challenge organised by Rotary clubs of SR1 and Sunderland Satellite. It was such an amazing experience to be involved. The energy amongst the other participants and the watching crowd (in horrific conditions may I add) was truly outstanding. There were 16 teams who entered including University of Sunderland and Sunderland RFC (who John used to play for) so there was a healthy competitiveness about the day.

Dragon Boat race

Dragon Boat race

The order of the day was that each team took part in three timeed runs and the three quickest teams would compete in the final. The John Drummond Trust recorded very impressive times of 57 seconds, 56 seconds, 60 seconds and then in the final, 57 seconds bringing home the winners medal.

Dragon Boat race

Dragon Boat race

However more importantly, at the time of writing, we managed to raise over £1,500 which was an incredible achievement and we hope that it contributes to ending cancer forever.

If you would still like to donate towards The John Drummond Trust, The Just Giving page is active until the end of August and you can donate here.

Alternatively, if anyone would like to know more about The John Drummond trust or help in other ways, you can get involved at

Thank you on behalf of everyone involved on Sunday, John’s family and The John Drummond Trust for everyone’s very generous donations. We miss you mate.

Written by Mickey Devine

Photo credit: GA Media