A DRAGON boat team from St Neots will form part of a royal flotilla this summer after being selected to be among the 1,000 vessels and 30,000 people taking part in the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations on the River Thames.

A DRAGON boat team from St Neots will form part of a royal flotilla this summer after being selected to be among the 1,000 vessels and 30,000 people taking part in the Queen's Jubilee celebrations on the River Thames.

The team of 22 dragon boaters, including a drummer and helmsman, regularly compete in a national league on a boat called Cool Runnings. Now they have been included in the jubilee event after being selected from the thousands who applied, including 400 dragon boats.

Nick Clarke, 61, chairman of the club, told The Hunts Post: "We heard about the river pageant, found out how to apply and were lucky enough to be accepted. It was oversubscribed by about three times."

The vast assortment of vessels, including historic boats, wooden launches and steam vessels, will gather on the river between Hammersmith and Putney on Sunday, June 3, before travelling down the Thames, accompanied by music, where the flotilla - expected to be about a seven miles long - will finish at Tower Bridge.

"We went to the rehearsal last week to make sure the dragon boat was capable of going at a speed set by the organisers - 4mph. It's hard to keep a dragon boat going so slow!" Mr Clarke added.

The dragon boaters have been given a place in the procession just a few metres back from the Queen's boat, The Spirit of Chartwell.

"The Queen's boat will lead, then there will be kayaks and then its the dragon boats," Mr Clarke, who lives in Eaton Socon, said. "We will be representing St Neots and the county. I don't know of anyone else in Cambridgeshire who is going to be involved. It's a massive coup."

The team, which was given a home at St Neots Rowing Club after being formed in 1996, has members aged between 14 and 67, and has competed across the country in league events as well as in endurance races, including a 24-mile race along the Thames.

The jubilee event is expected to attract a massive audience to the capital - about one million spectators - and millions more will watch on television.

The Cool Runnings boat - named after the 1993 film, which Mr Clarke had watched before first getting involved in a charity dragon boat race - is keen to fly the flag for St Neots and needs to look its best for Her Majesty's celebration.

But it all costs money.

"We want to get a nice new set of tops - any business that can help us with this can get their logo on them - and we want tidy the boat up a bit," said Mr Clarke, whose son Dan is the team manager.

"Because of where we are in the flotilla we're hoping the cameras will be all over us."

INFORMATION: Call team manager Dan Clarke on 07513318004 or e-mail danclarke33@sky.com