Preston’s growing dragon boat community held a special ceremony to name its new vessel, honouring Preston Marina founder Chris Miller in the process.
Taking place at the Preston Marina, crowds flocked to the dock’s edges to watch the boat – named the ‘Spirit of Chris Miller’ – take to the waters for the first time.
Chris, from Penwortham, brought the Marina to the city in 1990 and was involved in events in Preston right up until his death in 2016.
His daughter Sue Cameron, who is a member of the city’s Preston Dragons club, said: “It was a lovely and happy occasion. I feel very grateful that the club allowed the boat to be named after him.
“He was a very special person and involved with everything at the Marina and in the founding of the dragon boat club.”
The ceremony saw a traditional Chinese ‘eye dotting’ ceremony take place, which sees the eye’s on the dragon head at the boat’s bow painted in to officially give the boat life on the water.
The University of Central Lancashire’s Confucius Institute kindly brought along their Chinese lion dancers to make the occasion a fully immersive affair.
Sue said: “UCLan really do support our club so much. The lion dancers came along and did some dances for us and the crowds.
“We welcomed so many people. It was such a good turnout.”
After the ceremony members of the public were invited to go paddling with the team on the waters, with the boat able to hold up to 16 at a time.
The ceremony means that the Preston Dragons now have three of their own boats to practice and compete in.
Sue said: “We started off in April 2016. More than two years later we have own all our own boats, paddles, and kit. We’re ready to grow the club more and more now.
“We started off borrowing kid and equipment. We’ve come a long way.”
The Preston Dragons now compete around the country in dragon boat racing competitions, with the next one in Nottingham at the beginning of July.