500 brave hearts share the burden of cancer |PICTURES

There was a guard of honour for race competitors after a remembrance ceremony for cancer sufferers. Picture: MATTHEW SMITHWICK
There was a guard of honour for race competitors after a remembrance ceremony for cancer sufferers. Picture: MATTHEW SMITHWICK
Competitors ponder their cause during a remembrance ceremony.

Competitors ponder their cause during a remembrance ceremony.

 Dragon boat racing competitors emerge through a guard of honour after a remembrance ceremony.

Dragon boat racing competitors emerge through a guard of honour after a remembrance ceremony.

 Dragon boat racing competitors emerge through a guard of honour after a remembrance ceremony.

Dragon boat racing competitors emerge through a guard of honour after a remembrance ceremony.

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THE beads of sweat and twinkle of competition in many eyes emphasised the rivalry between Wodonga and Albury councils at the Brave Hearts Dragon Boat Regatta at the weekend.

As both teams heaved on their paddles at the Gateway Lakes, Wodonga couldn’t find just that last bit of energy to take first place.

Bravehearts on the Murray president, Wodonga’s Jenny Black, said her team had expected Albury to wallop them.

“They beat us by a fraction so that has given us a bit of juice to come back bigger and better next year,” she said.

“We’ve had the council teams race for the past three years and Albury has managed the hat-trick and it has been well deserved,” she said.

Mrs Black said aside from all the banter and high spirits, the regatta was really a time to remember those who had lost their battle with cancer or to support those facing it.

The sound of bagpipes and ukeleles accompanied the more than 500 paddlers — with four boats crewed by cancer survivors — and all fell silent during a remembrance ceremony.

“There were tears among all of us,” Mrs Black said.

She said the 21 community teams were a great show of camaraderie.

“This is the sixth year — we started with only four community teams,” she said.

Even though there was only one first place, Mrs Black said everyone was a winner.

“They were all out there with the aim to fight for someone or remember someone,” she said.

“We were there to enjoy the sport we love and it was an honour to paddle for cancer.”

Peninsula Dragonfly's Heather Thomson  and Brave Hearts on the Murray's Denise Geraghty, usually rivals in dragon boat racing, embrace during a remembrance ceremony for those lost to cancer,

Peninsula Dragonfly's Heather Thomson and Brave Hearts on the Murray's Denise Geraghty, usually rivals in dragon boat racing, embrace during a remembrance ceremony for those lost to cancer,

 Bob Laundess, a member of Brave Hearts, makes a heartfelt speech during a remembrance ceremony for those lost to cancer.

Bob Laundess, a member of Brave Hearts, makes a heartfelt speech during a remembrance ceremony for those lost to cancer.

The victorious Albury City team who beat City of Wodonga in a photo-finish.

The victorious Albury City team who beat City of Wodonga in a photo-finish.

 The City of Wodonga team in a dragon boat race against Albury City on Gateway Lakes.

The City of Wodonga team in a dragon boat race against Albury City on Gateway Lakes.

 The Albury City team in a dragon boat race against City of Wodonga on Gateway Lakes.

The Albury City team in a dragon boat race against City of Wodonga on Gateway Lakes.

The Albury City team wins the dragon boat race against City of Wodonga on Gateway Lakes

The Albury City team wins the dragon boat race against City of Wodonga on Gateway Lakes

 Competitors in the dragon boat racing pause in formation during a remembrance ceremony for those lost to cancer.

Competitors in the dragon boat racing pause in formation during a remembrance ceremony for those lost to cancer.

The victorious Albury City team who beat City of Wodonga in a photo-finish .

The victorious Albury City team who beat City of Wodonga in a photo-finish .

 Competitors in the dragon boat racing pause in formation during a remembrance ceremony for those lost to cancer.

Competitors in the dragon boat racing pause in formation during a remembrance ceremony for those lost to cancer.

 Competitors in the dragon boat racing pause and raise their paddles during a remembrance ceremony for those lost to cancer.

Competitors in the dragon boat racing pause and raise their paddles during a remembrance ceremony for those lost to cancer.

 Competitors in the dragon boat racing pause and raise their paddles during a remembrance ceremony for those lost to cancer.

Competitors in the dragon boat racing pause and raise their paddles during a remembrance ceremony for those lost to cancer.

 Competitors in the dragon boat racing pause and raise their paddles during a remembrance ceremony for those lost to cancer.

Competitors in the dragon boat racing pause and raise their paddles during a remembrance ceremony for those lost to cancer.

Jaye Hem holds her paddle in the air proudly with the Mareeyn Dreaming team.

Jaye Hem holds her paddle in the air proudly with the Mareeyn Dreaming team.