We paddle each week on Saturday mornings in the beautiful surroundings of Debdale. 

Our Manchester Dragoneers team was formed in 2012 under the Paddlers for Life banner, a Breast Cancer Dragon Boat team.  We’re not about racing, we’re about enjoying a weekly unique exercise in the beautiful and peaceful surroundings of Debdale reservoir.  We don’t talk about cancer, we don’t dwell on cancer, we think about what life has to offer us and we offer emotional support to those who have undergone treatment and their family and friends, our supporters.  We are about having fun, enjoying ourselves and reaching out for the new normal after treatment. 


We paddle each week (weather dependant) but we always meet up on Saturday mornings at 10.00am.  Our boat has to be prepared and launched and we aim to be on the water no later than 10.45am for a 1hour session.  Tea/Coffee and cake is available after our paddling session.


Throughout the season we enjoy other activities such as sailing, kayaking, walking and other social events. 


We share the open water on Saturday mornings with the Debdale Junior Sailing Club, made up of young people who learn water confidence, sailing and other water based activities. 


As of 2020, there are over 200 dragon boat teams in 26 different countries dedicated to breast cancer survivors. Twenty-two years ago, there were none. Many rehab experts believed that regular strenuous exercise was too risky. In particular, they expressed concerns about possible lymphedema, swelling of the lymph nodes in the upper arm area. Had it not been for Dr. Don McKenzie of the University of British Columbia (UBC), this might have stayed the prevailing wisdom. McKenzie recruited and trained a team of breast cancer survivors who competed in the first dragon boat festival in North America in Vancouver, Canada in 1996; they showed that strenuous upper-body exercise could not only be safe but actually therapeutic.


Breast Cancer survivors – recommendation is 3 months post treatment but we do have some ladies who want to live life to the full following diagnosis and have joined us mid-treatment.