A group of colleagues from Birmingham Women’s Hospital have row, row, rowed their way to success for their patients, taking on their hospital charity’s annual Dragon Boat Race and raising £3,360 to support bereaved parents.

Birmingham Women’s and Children’s Hospital Charity Dragon Boat Race took place across two days canalside at the Mailbox and saw over 40 teams from the Birmingham business community come together to raise money for the two hospitals.

One of those teams was BWH Pride, a group of 17 colleagues from several departments at the Women’s Hospital, including Maternity, Neonatal, Gynaecology and Vital Services. After hearing about the fundraiser, they felt inspired to rally a team together in support of the hospital’s Woodland House Appeal, to bring a bereavement centre to the hospital for parents experiencing pregnancy or baby loss.

The opportunity to train was limited for the busy colleagues, although training videos of other dragon boat races were shared in advance, and people were encouraged to train individually. On the day, dressed in rainbow fancy dress, the team came together early to practice their rowing technique, which is all about synchronicity, and decide what order they would sit in the boat.

They then got to racing. The teams battled it out through three heats of 200m races with the day culminating in major and minor finals to determine the day’s top four teams. Despite winning two of their three races, BWH Pride finished middle of the table. Nevertheless, a fantastic day was had by the rowers, with family and friends in attendance to cheer them on, and a real sense of camaraderie among all the teams.

As well as the action of the races, spectators were entertained by Birmingham TikTok superstar, Luke Vernon, who kindly hosted the event. The social media sensation, boasts over 1.9m followers and recently had a starring role within the Commonwealth Games. He had the honour of announcing the grand total raised across the teams and two-day event - a phenomenal £186,192!

Simon Fertig, Captain of BWH Pride and Director of Operations at Birmingham Women’s Hospital, said: “It was such a fantastic event, although tougher than we thought. By the time we hit 100m, our arms were aching, but we kept going. Everyone had such amazing energy and really made the effort to dress up.

“We’re so thrilled to have raised so much money for such an important cause, and we’ve decided we’ll definitely be entering a team for next year’s event...maybe even two!"

Helen Miles, Head of Corporate Partnerships at Birmingham Women’s and Children’s Hospital Charity, said: “We’re so pleased that our very own hospital colleagues were able to join the fun on the day. After all, we’re raising money for the very patients they care for, so to have their involvement really was the cherry on top of what was a brilliant event.

“We’re simply blown away by the total amount raised across the whole event. The Birmingham business community has come together to help make a real difference to our hospitals. Words cannot express how thankful we are.”