Ninety Years Well Spent!


Stratford upon Avon Boat Club celebrated the ninetieth birthday of local Stratford man Bill Collins with a surprise party at the Club with many former rowers and friends who had trained and competed with Bill over the years

Bill had taught for many years at Henley in Arden High School, now Henley in Arden School, is an expert in heraldry and also local history and lived in Loxley Road and Sanctus Drive with his wife Gwen and moved to Lincolnshire to be close to his large family, daughter Kate and son Giles and four great grandchildren, soon to be five great grandchildren!

Over his many years at Stratford Boat Club, Bill served as Captain, Honorary Secretary in the 80’s and was President in the early 90’s and


coxed, competed and coached to a high standard at the Club for many years

One of Bill’s many legacies is a history of Stratford upon Avon Boat Club from its inception in 1874 through until 1974, a copy of which is lodged with the River and Rowing Museum at Henley on Thames. Bill was also


instrumental in the organisation of the Ball Cup South, encouraging local schools’ entries

Said Paul Stanton, the Club’s current President, “We celebrate almost weekly the successes of today’s Club athletes: it is a useful lesson to remind ourselves that such success is built on the hard work not only of the current coaches and the athletes themselves but also the efforts of

those more senior Club members who paved the way to the Club’s early and continued dominance and gave us an example of sportsmanship and camaraderie. Their example is still very much alive today”

For media coverage, please see Stratford Observer online Great pictures from Jon at

AGM Notification 2018




Important Notice To All Members ( 11/04/18 )

This is a notification to all members regarding our AGM for 2018.

The AGM will be held on Wednesday 16th May at 7.30pm in the Clubhouse.

We are looking for volunteers for certain positions on the Management Committee, so we would be grateful to anyone interested in taking up a position to contact either Jo Wyles (Hon Secretary) or Dawson Curnock (Chairman) by Friday 20th April.

We need to prepare an agenda for the AGM, so if any member has a point for discussion during the meeting, please can you complete one of the sheets that will be in the Clubhouse (11/04/18). (It needs to be signed by two members that are eligible to vote), put the completed sheet in one of the envelopes provided & put it in the box marked AGM Agenda. The agenda can then be prepared, acceptance of points for discussion will close on Monday 16th April.

Please be aware that all members are welcome to attend the meeting, including parents of the Junior section of the club.

As per our constitution, only members who are over 16 years of age prior to the date of the AGM can vote at the AGM & only members who are over 18 years of age prior to the date of the AGM are allowed to stand for election . However, parents of Junior members are allowed to vote as a consequence of their child’s membership & are also allowed to stand for election.

Stratford-upon-Avon Boat Club, The Club House, Swans Nest Lane
Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire CV37 7LS

Better Training Conditions Put Senior Men in Great Place

The Senior Men’s squad from Stratford upon Avon Boat Club couldn’t have picked a better week to head off to a weeklong training camp in the south of France in preparation for the forthcoming regatta season.

Whilst the rain poured steadily down in Warwickshire and their colleagues scurried around readying the boathouse for the Avon flood, the squad was able to get in three training sessions a day on the beautiful River Lot at Temple-Sur-Lot, seventy miles inland from Bordeaux.

The La Base centre at Temple-Sur-Lot plays host to a number of rowing and canoeing squads from around the world. Stratford rubbed shoulders with the German and Danish canoeing teams as well as some UK squads from Bristol University and Wallingford.

Bill Sullivan, the Senior Men’s Coach said, “With miles and miles of wide flowing river to row on, the twelve athletes and two coaches covered nearly two hundred kilometers over the week’s training, slowly but surely building a common technique and rowing style ready for the upcoming regatta season.”

Said Oliver Smith, Captain of Boats, “Although the athletes put in major effort over the week, our coaches Bill Sullivan and Colin Bell did all the work arranging our training programme and schedule and spent weeks planning our stay.”

Dr Ben Twiney, Senior Men’s Vice Captain commented, “It is so good to be part a squad with so much dedication and determination. We’re also most grateful to Oli for towing our huge trailer to and back from our training camp. Our special thanks also go to our cox Amie Jones who put up with fourteen blokes for more than a week!”

For media coverage, please Stratford Observer online and Stratford Herald page 16 and online

Quieter Waters for Successful Junior Sculling Head and West Midlands Trials

Following the excitement of Schools’ Head, Stratford upon Avon Boat Club’s younger squads took on competition from around the United Kingdom at the Junior Sculling Head held over 3600m on the Olympic Lake at Eton Dorney. Fortune smiled on all competitors with conditions much improved over the previous day on the Tideway.

First to race was the women’s J15 coxed quadruple scull of Jasmine Mountney, Maiya James, Mili Wilcock, Mya Kenny and Naomi Sergeant (coxswain).  Powering up the course the crew started well and held their rhythm through the first leg of the event. Continuing the push through the second leg the crew battled hard earning themselves 29th place of the 62 crews entered.

Next up was the women’s J14 coxed quadruple scull of Abbey Meggeson, Martha Usselmann, Sienna Rawlings, Elizabeth Edwards and Julia Zampronio Gurden (coxswain). Said Steve Wellstead, Stratford’s Junior Co-ordinator, “The crew showed tremendous grit and composure in their first outing on the national stage despite last minute crew changes due to illness. A solid row over both legs of the course was enough to secure them 27th of the 48 crews entered.”


Each year the weeks preceding Easter see selection trials for the West Midlands Junior rowing squad. The ‘Beast from the East’ thwarted the main event in Stourport and selection trials were rescheduled to run at Worcester in a two leg time trial format racing ran both with and against the significant Severn stream making the event a real test of boatmanship. Stratford’s young athletes coped admirably and put in some terrific performances across the board. In the end the margins were close and steering on the upstream leg proved crucial.

The Stratford upon Avon Boat Club Junior Squad came away with two wins on the day from Fred Tyler and Amelie Sartain which when combined with prior selection events gives Stratford five crews representing the West Midlands. Steve Wellstead said again,”This makes Stratford the most successful club at the West Midlands Trials, a superb achievement and one of which we are all very proud.”

The following athletes will wear West Midlands’ colours at the Junior Inter-Regional Regatta in April: Amelie Sartain, Fred Tyler, Katie Wellstead, Molly Gill Swift, Khloe Curnock, Jessica Weisheu, Maiya James, Nixie Brunt, Mya Kenny, Alice Baines, Naomi Sergeant, Abbey Meggeson, Martha Usselmann, Elizabeth Edwards, Sienna Rawlings and Julia Zampronio Gurden.

For media coverage, please see Stratford Observer online at and Stratford Herald page 17

Stratford impress at Schools’ Head of the River Race

Stratford upon Avon Boat Club entered two Girls Junior 16 year old crews in The Schools’ Head of the River Race on 12th March. The prestigious annual event is run over the Oxford and Cambridge boat races course in reverse from Mortlake to Putney with the stream.

This was the first experience of racing on the Tideway for both crews and it was particularly challenging for the coxswains steering the coxed four Mimi Hill and Talei Dunn steering the coxless quad from the bow seat. They both did a sterling job by staying in the stream and resisting challenges from other coxes trying to gain advantage by pushing them into slower water.

In the coxless quad regular J16 squad members Jess Weisheu, Autumn Keil and Talei Dunn were joined by J15 Alice Bains rowing up a year, who sculled with great skill and determination. The crew’s superb technique and powerful rhythm resulted in a highly creditable 7th place out of 18.

The coxed four of Katie Wellstead, Molly Gill-Swift, Khloe Curnock, Emily Browne and coxswain Mimi Hill got off to a flying start overtaking the crew in front by Barnes Bridge. They dug in for the long haul to Hammersmith Bridge holding off a challenge from Kingston and Emanuel. The girls held their composure in a superb display of sweep rowing to a strong finish as Kingston just edged past in the final 500 meters to take the win on time ahead of Emanuel in second and Stratford in third place.

Said Stratford’s coach Sam Hill, “The Schools’ Head is the first national event of the 2018 season and both crews measured exceptionally well against strong opposition crews, many rowing on their home water. Clearly the long winter training is paying off and the J16 squad has the potential to perform very well in 2018.”

Stratford’s sister squad King Edward the Sixth Grammar School also took part with both girls’ and boys’ crews.

For media coverage, see Stratford Observer online at and Stratford Herald online at and p15.

For more great pictures of The Schools’ Head of the River Race, see Stuart Baines’ selection!AgY7EiDB2lCOgo9bT5xJEeDFGKNveQ

Juniors go the distance

Indoor training for Stratford Boat Club’s J14 squad reached a milestone with the presentation of Concept 2 100,000m Distance Awards.

During the winter months, the squad’s indoor training on the club’s Concept 2 ergometers (indoor rowing machines)increases as weekday land training complements the weekend water-based activities.

In the last six months, squad members have individually rowed in excess of 100,000m and the Distance Awards acknowledge the training they have undertaken.

J14 coach Trevor Tiller said: “Building up fitness and strength on the ergometer, whilst also perfecting their technique, ensures the squad is well prepared for the forthcoming regatta season.”

In addition to club training, the squad has successfully raced at events such as the British Rowing Indoor Championships at the Olympic velodrome and most recently the South of England Indoor Rowing Championships in Abingdon.

For media coverage please see Stratford Observer online at…/juniors-go-the-distance and Stratford Herald online at… and page 15

Capital gains for determined Stratford’s men’s eight

FOR the first time in many years Stratford Boat Club entered a men’s eight into the prestigious Head of the River race and the crew exceeded their pre-race target of a top 100 finish by clinching 70th place.

This annual event is rowed over four-and-a-half miles on the Tideway in London from Chiswick to Putney – effectively the reverse of the Oxford versus Cambridge Boat Race.

Some 330 crews from all over the UK and Europe descend on the River Thames to finish the head racing season in style. Raced against the clock, each crew sets off in turn, being chased by the crew behind whilst trying to catch those in front, often leading to much blade-clashing and frank exchanges of views.

Stratford’s men’s eight have trained hard and gelled well over the last eight weeks and, after some decent performances at Worcester Head and Head of the Trent, the crew were hoping to break into the top 100 in the capital.

The squad, made up of cox El Willets, stroke man Alastair Collier, Tom Coles, Ben Twiney, Mike Hourigan, Ed Lewry, Ed Press, Edwyn Brighty and Stuart Lyons, bettered those expectations by finishing 70th.

Starting off number 131, the crew got off to a strong start and hit their racing rhythm soon after Barnes Bridge. By the time the crew had reached Hammersmith Bridge, they had caught up with three of the crews in front of them.

Cox Willets took a tight line on the inside of bend to sweep the Stratford men through the competition and then stroke Collier wound up the rate at Craven Cottage (Fulham FC) to bring the crew home in style.

Their coach Bill Sullivan said: “It’s a terrific performance by the whole crew. Breaking into the top 100 at the Head of The River is a key target for any serious rowing club and breaking into the top 70 exceeds expectations.

“At a small club like Stratford, we don’t always have the resources that others clubs are lucky enough to have, so this result is an indication of the commitment and focus of a group of full-time working men and women who are also exceptional part-time athletes.”

The squad now head off to the south of France for a training camp at the end of March before targeting some of the major summer regattas including Henley Royal Regatta.

For media coverage, please see Stratford Observer online at…/capital-gains-for-determi… and Stratford Herald online… and page 15

The Battle of Worcester!

After five months of a grueling winter training programme (six days each week on and off the water), the WJ16 (15 going on 16 year olds) squad last Saturday raced over 6k at the Worcester Head of the River on the River Seven in difficult conditions. Their work rate and skill was impressive with the coxless quadruple sculling boat of Mimi Hill, Talei Dunn, Autumn Keil and Molly Gill-Swift finishing in second place in their age category and only twenty seconds behind the winner.

The coxed four of Katie Wellstead, Jessica Wiesheu, Khloe Curnock, Emily Browne coxed by Matilda Watts competed in an adult category: they came out winners and on the day were the fastest ladies coxed four – an outstanding result for these young athletes.

Said J16 coach Dr Graham Collier, “After the upcoming West Midlands Junior Inter-regional Regatta trials, the crews head off to the Schools Head of The River Race which is over the Boat Race Course on the River Thames. The Worcester results have set them up nicely to compete strongly in this national event that attracts schools and clubs from all over the country.”

Stratford’s sister club from King Edward The Sixth Grammar School won in the IM3.4+ category and also competed in the W.IM2.4+ event.

The Senior Men’s Squad also had their first opportunity of the year to put all the hard work in training into practice. Said Senior Men’s coach Bill Sullivan, “The Senior Men’s Eight are targeting a top 80 finish in the prestigious Head of The River held on the Tideway in London in March. They kicked off the day at Worcester with a good second place in the Senior Eights with the potential to build a lot more speed over the coming weeks. They continue their build-up at The Head of the Trent in Nottingham this coming weekend. Meanwhile the IM 4+ had an encouraging first race of the season and will build their competitiveness over the coming weeks in Nottingham.”

The Senior Men’s coxed four raced well in the Elite 4+ category in the second division. They were engaged in a tight tussle with a good crew from Exeter Rowing Club all the way down the river. Unfortunately, a crash with a creaky Worcester Vets quad, who were unable to understand the simple premise that two boats don’t fit into one narrow arch, meant the four had to stop rowing and untangle themselves, costing them the win.

Meanwhile the Senior Men’s IM 4+ had an encouraging first race of the season and will build their competitiveness over the coming weeks.

Stratford’s Masters’ Squad had a win with a Bridgnorth Rowing Club composite Masters D.4+ and also competed in the C/D/E.4- and C/D/E.8+ categories.

For media coverage, see Stratford Observer online and Stratford Herald online and p14.

Stratford In and Outdoors!

The head racing season for Stratford upon Avon Boat Club continued with the young athletes of the Junior 15 squad competing in the Wycliffe Big Head. This event, held over 4500m on the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal, always proves a tough challenge with quality opposition from clubs and schools across the region and beyond. This year was no exception with crews including Radley College, Kings School Chester and Ross Rowing Club.

A damp and grey scene greeted the Stratford crews on arrival, however the two boats took to the water with eager anticipation of the race ahead. As the event got underway, the gathered spectators’ cheers lifted the performance of the athletes and both crews delivered a superb sculling display.

First across the course was the mixed coxed quadruple scull of Dan Cox, Mili Wilcock, Max Griffiths, Fred Tyler and coxswain Jasmine Mountney. Rowing their own race and well in control, they finished a creditable fourth in their event.

Next up was the women’s coxed quadruple scull of Maiya James, Nixie Brunt, Mya Kenny, Alice Baines and coxswain Naomi Sergeant. Their bows scythed through the water in pursuit of the crew ahead with a final push granting them fourth place in their event also.

In warmer conditions but nonetheless just as energetic were Stratford’s J13 and J14 squads competing in the South of England Indoor Rowing Championships arranged and run by Hinksey Sculling School in Abingdon. Said J13 coach Abi Terry, “All of Stratford’s J13’s achieved Personal Bests and said they would like to compete there again next year, having all had a great day!”

In total, Stratford had two Golds, two Silvers and one Bronze medals:

Honour Keil – WJ13B 3 minute 754m

Charlotte Syson – WJ13A 3 minute 717m



Harriet Hodgson – WJ14A 4 minute 998m

Sophie Elstone – WJ14B 4 minute 1001m



Amelie Sartain – WJ14A 4 minute 991m

Millie Hodgson WJ12 2 minute also managed to achieve a great Bronze medal for Stratford Girls School achieving 489m

Said J14 coach Trevor Tiller, “We achieved some great four minute improvements from the J14 squad, everyone with a new Personal Best: we now need that inner confidence to gently coax out some more success! We’re looking forward to a good season.”

Meanwhile back in cold and damp Stratford, the Senior squad continued their Henley Royal Regatta training and WJ15 squad had trials to select the best crew combination for the upcoming the Junior Sculling Regatta.

For media coverage, please see Stratford Observer online and Stratford Observer p14 and Stratford Herald page 14

For more great pictures of Wycliffe Big Head, see Stuart Baines’ selection at

Shipston Rotary Dry Indoor Boat Race

Stratford upon Boat Club


Shipston on Stour Rotary Club


The Indoor Dry Land Boat Race

on Sunday 18 March 2018

at Stratford upon Avon Boat Club

from 14.00 to 17.00hrs


Competitive crews of four ‘rowers’ race

over a timed/distance course

on ergos on rails

to raise funds for Shipston Rotary charities


Entry £150 per crew of four


Please support the rowers or take part


For details and entry form, please contact