It’s a sporting Fairy-tale as Daines receives Great Britain squad spot

Fairy Daines of the Eynesbury-based Cambridgeshire Royals Dragon Boat Club.

Fairy Daines of the Eynesbury-based Cambridgeshire Royals Dragon Boat Club. - Credit: Archant

Dragon boat racer Fairy Daines has been selected to represent Great Britain in the European Championships.

Daines, a member of the Eynesbury-based Cambridgeshire Royals, has been called up to the GB Ladies team and is also a contender for a spot in the Mixed line-up as well.

The 37 year-old was a founder member of the Royals club two years ago and was successful in her first attempt to earn inclusion in the GB squad for the major event in Rome between July 27 and 31.

Daines, pictured right, said: “My partner Matt and I were in the pub discussing the dragon boat season.

“It wasn’t my best season and I wanted to prove to myself that I could be better so I decided to train with the British national training squad.

“The training was hard and completely different to club training, but little did I know that these amazing people were to become a big part of my life.

“I’ve always looked up to the GB squad in awe, but I never thought I could actually do it. Sometimes you have to dream big and fight for what you want, and I am proud to say I’m officially a GB lady.”

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There is no central funding in dragon boat racing so Daines will have to self-fund her participation in the European Championships. She is seeking sponsorship to help cover the costs. Anyone interested can make contact by calling 07736 311031 or by emailing

Paul Saywell, manager of the Cambridgeshire Royals said, “This is a fantastic personal achievement from Fairy, who is one of our great club’s founder members.

“It takes blood, sweat and tears to reach this level of achievement in any sport and I take my hat off to Fairy.”

Daines joins eight members of another local outfit - St Neots Dragon Boat Team - in the Great Britain party.

Amanda Melesi, Steve Allsop, Phil Durham and Rob Hunt made the grade for the GB Senior team during fitness tests and time trials recently while Olly Pegg, Rachel Elliott and team head coach Gavin Sinclair qualified for the GB Premier squad.

Sinclair said: “I am exceptionally proud of my team-mates for the dedication they have shown. Now the hard work really begins to further improve our fitness levels and help bring home the gold.”

There are also opportunities for local businesses to help sponsor the St Neots Dragon Boat Team paddlers and potentially the full GB crews for the European Championships. Further information by email from

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