Phil Donato was on hand to see the huge benefits Parkes Dragon Boat Club have gained from grants

THAT'S A PADDLIN: Beth Thomas, Phil Donato, Maggi Barnard, Bill Thomas with the new carbon fibre Hornet paddles the club was able to purchase, each with their own stunning design. Photo: Kristy Williams.

THAT'S A PADDLIN: Beth Thomas, Phil Donato, Maggi Barnard, Bill Thomas with the new carbon fibre Hornet paddles the club was able to purchase, each with their own stunning design. Photo: Kristy Williams.

On Tuesday, Member of Orange, Phil Donato MP, was hand to inspect what the Parkes Dragon Boat Club has been able to do with funding that was allocated to them under the Local Sporting Grant Program.

A total of $20,680 was awarded to the club for three separate project titles that have allowed them to purchase new carbon fibre paddles, erect a permanent shade structure at Lake Endeavour Dam and provide a coaching clinic.

"It was an absolutely pleasure to support this grant, which was submitted by the members of the Parkes Dragon Boat Club," said Mr Donato.

Mr Donato, who promised to be back to have a paddle on the lake in 2021, was full of praise for the oft under utilised beauty of the area, which is 30 kilometres out of town.

"Parkes is lucky to have Lake Endeavour Dam within close proximity, providing an accessible body of water for members to gather and train on."

The club has already been able to purchase the brilliantly coloured and spectacularly light carbon fibre paddles, while construction on the shade structure is well underway, with the roof already installed.

The COVID-19 pandemic had cruelled attempts to schedule the coaching clinic, but that is in the pipeline too.

The club's coach Beth Thomas was quick extol the benefits of being a member of the club, which suits people of all shapes, sizes and ages.

"When you are out on the lake, all your stresses just drain away," said Thomas.

"There are people here that says the club has genuinely changed their lives.

"There is also a big social aspect to the club and we have a great camaraderie - fun, friendship and fitness is what we are all about!" Thomas said.

Some of the Hornet paddle designs.

Some of the Hornet paddle designs.

The next big event will see the club head to Pittwater (on Sydney's Northern Beaches) on January 30 for a regatta that will be hosted by the Bei Loon Dragon Boat Club, which is one of the biggest clubs in NSW.

Mr Donato was pleased with what the sporting grants have been able to do for community sport in the region, especially for fledging club that was only established in May 2018.

"Supporting grants for organisations such as the Parkes Dragon Boat Club is important, as it supports continued sporting activity for those already involved in the sport, but to also build on equipment and infrastructure which will encourage involvement and attract membership."

The club trains at Lake Endeavour on Thursday evening and Sunday morning, though there will be no training on December 24 or 31 (training will still take place on Sunday December 27 for those who want to attend).

For those interested in joining the Parkes Dragon Boat Club, hop on their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ParkesEndeavourDragons or contact Beth Thomas on 0418 253 045.