Rosconn Group Give It A Try!

SuABC Rosconn Club 8 riverNot content with just sponsoring Stratford upon Avon Boat Club’s regatta on Saturday 18 June, The Rosconn Group, the Warwickshire based property developer and strategic land promoter, decided to see what rowing was all about and went down to the Club for a trial ‘taster’!

Said Paul Hazelwood, the Boat Club’s Treasurer, “Working with The Rosconn Group at this early stage has secured the financial viability of the regatta and has helped us get to the final stage of our major refurbishment and expansion of the Club”

Caroline Hackett, Sponsorship Manager for The Rosconn Group commented, “ThisSuABC Rosconn Club banner 13 was an entirely new experience for me and my colleague Jonny Gill, our Land Manager. It was great fun and we’re looking forward to the regatta immensely!”

Plans for the regatta are well underway and entries will be open next month. Paul Stanton, President of Stratford Boat Club commented, “We are expecting crews from far and wide, with local, regional and national participation: last year crews were from schools and clubs including Bishop Vesey School, Worcester, Cardiff & Vale Schools, Cheltenham Ladies College, Evesham, Pengwern, Nottingham & Union, Stowe Sculling Club and many, many more. We are still looking for additional Gold Sponsors for individual races and divisions: this helps further fund the regatta and contribute to our current refurbishment, renovation and expansion”

For media coverage, see Stratford Observer p38

Local Opticians Support Boat Club Refurbishment

A Stratford upon Avon opticians is supporting the town’s boat club extension plans.SuABC Specsavers Observer 1

Specsavers at 8 Wood Street has stepped in to sponsor the club’s safety launch – which acts as a lifeboat for the rowers out on the water, spotting dangers and rescuing those in difficulty.

The boat club is currently undergoing a massive extension which will see its Club facilities double in size to cater for the growing membership and volunteer base, as well as including disabled access.  The support from Specsavers will go towards the £450k needed to carry out the work, with completion expected by the end of April this year.

SuABC Specsavers Observer 2“The boat club is a vital part of the local community here and one that we felt strongly about supporting,” says store director Paul Griffiths.  “The link with the safety launch and eye sight, as the role of the driver of the boat is to look out and spot dangers seemed, like the perfect fit, and it’s great to be involved.”

Commented Stephen Haighton, Boat Club Chairman “Ensuring the safety of our rowers is vital.  The speed of response is imperative, especially in winter.  It is fantastic that our local branch of Specsavers is helping us with this role.  As the club is growing, we’re currently looking for more launch drivers and appealing for volunteers.  We provide the training and it’s a great way to meet new friends and be part of the community.  Please get in touch with the club if you’d like to find out more.”

Stratford-upon-Avon Boat Club is friendly club that encourages people of all ages and abilities to row, as a high-performance sport or just for fun.  Established in 1874, it’s the home of Paralympic Gold Medalist James Roe and Junior World Champion Camilla Hadland.

For additional media, see

Busy Week for Stratford’s Squads

SuABC Schools' Head of the River March 2016 revd 2On Thursday 17 March, a Stratford upon Avon Boat Club WJ18 girls quad were one of three hundred and fifty boats competing in the Schools’ Head of the River Race on the River Thames. The event is the United Kingdom’s premier and largest school-age processional race for crews aged between fourteen and eighteen years old. The race is held annually on the River Thames over the four and a quarter mile (6.8 km) Championship Course from the University Stone in Mortlake to Westminster School Boat Club flagpole in Putney. It is rowed with the tide and is in the opposite direction to the Oxford versus Cambridge Boat Race. Crews from Hungary, Italy and the USA all took part.

Commenting coach Mark Holden said, “Stratford’s crew (Imogen North, Lucy Weston, Cassie Bird and Phoebe Winter) completed the course in twenty two minutes and forty three seconds finishing in twenty second place in their event, WJ18 girls’ coxless quads.”SuABC Scullery March 2016

Meanwhile on Friday, The Junior Sculling Head was held on the Olympic lake at Dorney. Over four hundred and eighty crews, schools and clubs, from all over the country competed in a full day’s racing. Stratford was represented by three of its quality young ladies crews who raced over the 3.8k course.

WJ16 coxless quad finished in twenty sixth place in their division. The WJ15 coxed quad had to complete the race out of their division but rowed well to finish in a time of sixteen minutes and forty six seconds.

Said coach Dr Graham Collier, “The WJ14 coxed quad of Katie Wellstead, Gracie Mitchell, Katie Philips, Emily Browne and Mimi Hill (cox) had an excellent race to finish joint fifth out of a fleet of forty five boats: they completed the course in the same time as an Italian crew and overwhelmed crews for some of the major rowing schools and clubs.”

SuABC Vesta Vets March 2016Not to be outdone by the Club’s Junior Squad, Stratford upon Avon Boat Club rowers Richard Nelson, Simon Beard, and Thomas Doherty continued their fine run of form in their composite crew with Bridgnorth Rowing Club at the Vesta Veterans’ Head of the River Race in London on Sunday. The race which marks the high point of the Masters’ eights competition head racing season is raced over the Boat Race course, attracted a full field of two hundred and twenty crews from United Kingdom  and European rowing clubs to provide high quality racing.

Stratford competing in Masters’ E division came an excellent fifth out of thirty one crews and finished thirty fourth overall out of two hundred and twenty entries in a time of twenty minutes and nine seconds, beating a significant number of  Masters’ A,B,C, and D crews in the process.

Said Tom Doherty, “We were really pleased with the quality of our row having made a big step up from last week’s North of England Head where we felt we underperformed. We were coxed expertly by a quality former Oxford Blue Boat cox which made a huge difference. Given that two of the crews who beat us in our division were crewed by former internationals this was an excellent result. Our focus now turns to smaller boats and the impending regatta season!”

For media coverage, see Stratford Herald p17

Epic Day at West Midlands Junior Championships

SuABC WMJC March 2016 20Stratford upon Avon Boat Club had a terrific day at West Midlands Junior Championships on Sunday. Said coach Mark Holden, “It looks as though we might be heading for fourteen seats in the West Midlands squad. There were also wins for Esme Booth rowing for King Edward The Sixth Grammar School and there was also a win for KES 4+. Congratulations to all our athletes and coaches!”

Junior Co-ordinator Will Bird commented, “There were wins for KES J18 4+; KES WJ17 1x; Stratford WJ14 4x+; Stratford WJ15 4+ and Stratford J16 4x-. This was a great day for the club, the bigger story being that we are taking fourteen athletes to the Junior Inter-regional Regatta in Nottingham on April 23rd. This is the best showing at this event for Stratford Boat Club in a while. A very, very good day for the Club!”SuABC WMJC March 2016 26 boys quad

Mark Holden commented further, “By my reckoning, this gives us more than 20% of the overall number of seats in the West Midlands squad. Great stuff! Well done by everyone!”

Stephen Haighton, Chairman of Stratford upon Avon Boat Club further commented, “This was an excellent result! The Club is proud of our Junior athletes and wishes them every success for their future challenges. Congratulations to the successful coaches too, this was a team effort to relish!”

25466040390_117b8c78f0_kDr Graham Collier, coach at Stratford Boat Club said, “Very well done to all our Junior athletes – a super showing. Congratulations to the 4x+ on winning and being selected to represent the West Midlands at the Junior Inter-Regional Regatta at Nottingham in April. On Friday the squad will be at Dorney Lake, the home of the 2012 Olympic rowing and we’ll be out on the water again on Tuesday for more training. I hope that they all rested well on Sunday evening – they all deserved it!”

For media coverage, see Stratford Observer p39 and Stratford Herald online

Pictures courtesy of David Phillips: more great pictures can be seen at

Rosconn Group to Sponsor Boat Club Regatta

SuABC Rosconn banner new

The Rosconn Group, the Warwickshire based property developer and strategic land promoter, has stepped forward to sponsor the Stratford upon Avon Boat Club’s fine boat regatta on Saturday 18 June

Said Kjersti Rogneflaten Woolley, Stratford Boat Club’s Regatta Secretary. “We are reallySuABC Rosconn board 2 looking forward to working with The Rosconn Group to make this year’s regatta the best ever. Rosconn’s early involvement has secured the financial viability of the regatta which will contribute towards the costs of our major refurbishment and expansion of the Club so that we can bring sport to more people in the Stratford area.”

SuABC Rosconn porch 1Daniel O’Donnell, Managing Director of The Rosconn Group commented, “With The Rosconn Group, I set out with a vision to do things differently, better: it was so refreshing to find that Stratford Boat Club’s vision and ethos was exactly the same. I believe that as a business, we have a responsibility to create value for everybody and leave a positive outcome with everything we do.”

Stratford upon Avon Boat Club President Paul Stanton on receiving the sponsorship cheque from Daniel O’Donnell said, “We have found a company that cares: as a local company, Rosconn are adamant that they have a responsibility to the local community, people and environment around them. This fits well with our mission and sport outreach into the area.”

For media coverage, see Stratford Observer online

Stratford Triumph at Gloucester

SuABC Gloucester March 2016 KES Novice FourIn Sunday’s Gloucester Spring Head on the Gloucester – Sharpness Canal, Stratford upon Avon Boat Club’s Women’s Novice coxed four in only their second race claimed a very commendable second place to Royal Grammar School Worcester by a mere eight seconds. Said coach Helen Smith, “This was an excellent performance by a relatively inexperienced crew who are continually improving.”SuABC Gloucester March 2016 Booth 1

Stratford Masters rowers Richard Nelson, Gary Clay and Thomas Doherty continued their run of fine form in a Bridgnorth composite eight recording their third straight win in SuABC Gloucester March 2016 Booth medalMasters’ C/D/E division beating into second place a quality Monmouth Masters C crew by twenty seconds. Commented Gary Clay, “Whilst this wasn’t our best row, we dealt reasonably well with the choppy conditions and look forward to an improved performance at the North of England Head next week as we continue to build up to the National Eights head in London.”

Stratford’s sister club King Edward The Sixth Grammar School won Novice 4+ and WJ18 1X. Their Novice 8 was third in their event and third in their Division.

Esme Booth who rows for both Stratford and KES was in fine form and was the fastest sculler in Division 2, male or female.

For more media cover, see Stratford Observer online and Stratford Herald p17

Another Successful Weekend for Stratford

Stratford upon Avon Boat Club members Simon Beard, Richard Nelson and Thomas Doherty rowing in a Bridgnorth composite eight won Masters E eights beating in the process all Masters C and D eights in the event in a time of 13 minutes and 22.18 seconds to finish eighth fastest crew on the day out of seventy entries at the Worcester Head.

Said Tom Doherty, “This was a positive start to our Vesta Masters’ eights head campaign which we are taking forward to Runcorn next Saturday for a stiff test over 6km against expected high quality opposition.”

Stratford’s Men’s Elite 4+ finished fastest coxed four of the day with a time of 13 minutes and 21.6 seconds. The Stratford’s Men’s Senior coxed four finished second in afternoon division with a time of 13 minutes and 39 seconds. Said Dr Ben Twiney, Men’s Seniors Vice Captain, “We were treating these as training pieces for upcoming heads and regattas and were rate capped but we were still pleased with our performances.”

The Junior Squad can report a win for the WJ18 coxless quad of Imogen North, Lucy Weston, Cassie Bird and Phoebe Winter. Opposition was limited to a crew from Evesham but the girls put in a good performance as the start of their preparation for the Schools Head on 17 March.

Stratford’s sister club, King Edward The Sixth Grammar School’s eight also competed at Worcester covering the 4.5km course in a very decent 14.02 minutes. Their final position was fourteenth overall in Division 1 and fourth in the Novice Eights.For meda coverage, seeStratford Herald p17 and Stratford Observer p31.SuABC KES Worcester eight February 2016 1

GB Trials for Stratford Juniors

Last weekend, local rowers Esme Booth and Isaac Herring travelled to Boston in Lincolnshire to take part in the British Rowing Junior Trials. Both currently row as Juniors for Stratford upon Avon Boat Club. The club currently has a thriving junior section and has had many recent successes at Junior level as well as at Senior and Masters levels.

For Isaac, this was his first outdoor water-based trial at Boston whereas Esme has taken part in three indoor ergo-based assessments finishing 17th out of 103 contestants. Esme has also been to previous outdoor water-based trial so far this school year.

In what were very windy and challenging conditions, both rowers raced in single sculls on Saturday over a course of 5km – Esme (WJ18) finishing 52nd (out of 120 juniors) and Isaac (J16) finishing 20th (out of 35 J16s).

On Sunday, both returned to Boston in even windier conditions and partnered with rowers from other participating clubs to row in double sculls races. This time Esme finishing in 19th position and Isaac finishing in 15th position in their relative categories.

Coach Alan Nash was in attendance over the two days and was very impressed with the achievements of both rowers in what were far from ideal conditions. Alan commented, “At this level of trials, Esme and Isaac were in competition with the top United Kingdom rowers including those from the Thames-based elite rowing clubs and also the very successful rowing schools and colleges. Both rowers can be proud of their performances over the two days of racing and it is very encouraging to see Stratford Boat Club junior rowing represented at this high level”.

Over the next few weeks, Esme will be continuing through the British Rowing Junior Trial process – the goal for all rowers will be to represent their country in a series of international competitions.

For media coverage, see Stratford Herald p17 and Stratford Herald online: and Stratford Observer p31SuABC Esme Boston February double

The Perfect Exercise

Rowers from Stratford upon Avon Boat Club led by Chris Straw visited Helen Ley Care Centre in Royal Leamington Spa last week as part ofSuABC Parkinson's 1 a club instigated outreach programme. The aims of the programme are to take rowing into the community to present the beneficial effects of rowing as a means of helping to alleviate the symptoms of neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease. At the same time, the programme provides an enjoyable means of exercise which is suited to the condition.

Chris who is himself a suffer from Parkinson’s is keenly interested in research studies into the effects that regular repetitive exercise may have in improving a patient’s balance, gait, tremor, flexibility and motor co-ordination.

As part of the visit, people of all levels of ability and condition were able to try rowing on state of the art indoor rowing machines and experience an enjoyable means of exercise tailored to their own level of condition. All the participants really enjoyed the experience and are keen to continue with the programme in the future.

Said Chris, “The clear star of the show was Thomas Harland (pictured) who, despite being quite immobile, was determined to try rowing: we discovered that notwithstanding his condition, he was able to row with an excellent technique as a result of having been an Eton schoolboy rower but having never rowed since school over half a century ago! The look on Thomas’s face as his rowing memories came flooding back was absolutely priceless!”