Busy Bank Holiday Weekend for Boat Club

On Bank Holiday Friday, the Stratford upon Avon Boat Club WJ14 coxed quadruple scull of Mimi Hill (cox), Katie Wellstead (stroke),SuABC NSR May 2016 tt Emily Browne (3), Katie Phillips (2), Autumn Keil (bow) opened their account at National level with a strong performance at the National Schools Regatta held on the Olympic Course at Eton Dorney.

In the qualifying time trial the crew put in a solid row recording the sixth fastest time amongst strong competition from thirty five schools and clubs from around the country.

SuABC NSR May 2016 nnHead to head racing in the semi-final saw a gripping 1000m battle take place between Newark, Stratford, Tideway Scullers and Ardingly with the Stratford crew missing a place in the A final by less than a foot to Tideway Scullers.

Moving to the B Final after disappointment in the semi final, the crew regrouped to deliver a confident victory over quality opposition from Liverpool Victoria, Headington School, Bedford Girls and Marlow.

Commenting on their performance, coach Dr Graham Collier said, “They are anSuABC NSR May 2016 t outstanding group from the Stratford Girls’ Grammar School who are already highly skilled sculling athletes with the motivation and determination to make their mark at national level – all whilst having loads of fun!”

Also competing at the National School’s Regatta at Eton Dorney Lake in the Junior Girls Championship Single Sculls category was Stratford Boat Club’s WJ17 rower Esme Booth – this time rowing for King Edward VI School.

Although rowing at the WJ18 age group with over forty competitors, Esme missed out on a place in the semi-finals by a mere 0.4 seconds. This put the KES rower in the “C” final where, in a very tight and exiting race, she finished in a very creditable fourth place in a time that would have brought her a top four place in either SuABC NSR May 2016 quadsemi-final.

Imogen North also made it through to her third National Schools rowing regatta final having rowed an impressive time trial to qualify as one of the top sixteen boats in the WJ18 single sculls category. Imogen finished fourth in a competitive semi-final to qualify for the final and finished eighth overall on the day.

The following day Stratford’s WJ18 coxless quad of Imogen North, Lucy Weston, Cassie Bird and Phoebe Winter finished twenty eighth in their time trial and improved their overall position by one place in the final stages following a thrilling race with Millfield School.

However, the highest place of the three day event for Stratford-upon-Avon Boat ClubSuABC NSR May 2016 Conolly was secured by the WJ15 4+.  The coxed four of Robin Connolly (cox), Lara Davies (stroke), Ellie Gray (3) Issy Marsden (2) and Maddy Winsper (bow) rowed their time trial seamlessly to take third place, qualifying well for the A final. Despite an old injury flaring up for one of the crew shortly after the start of the final, the girls rowed a well paced race to take fifth place nationally.

On Saturday18 June, the same day as the Stratford upon Avon Boat Club regatta, Esme will be rowing at the Henley Women’s Regatta, again a qualifying time trial will determine which athletes’ progress to the finals. Esme will be up against the top national and international female junior rowers and racing on the famous Henley Regatta course.

During the busy Bank Holiday weekend, Stratford Boat Club’s Masters, Novices and Intermediates also competed at Monmouth Regatta and The Club welcomed scullers from Thames Valley Skiff Club in Walton on Thames and The Skiff Club at Trowlock Way, Teddington during their weekend meanderings along the River Avon.

For media coverage, please also see Stratford Herald online http://bit.ly/25z5T8h and p16 and Stratford Observer p31.

For more great pictures of the National Schools Regatta, see David Phillips coverage on http://bit.ly/1UBiqCS

Lively AGM at Stratford Boat Club

SuABC AGM May 2016 7At last Thursday’s Annual General Meeting, Stratford upon Avon Boat Club recognised the great contribution that some of their members made to the Club by awarding the special Felix Awards, a legacy from the Club’s past President Felix Badcock who gave so much to the club: these are tankards won by Felix Badcock during his long career rowing and over engraved with the winner’s name and award. The intention was to award the Junior and the Senior Personality of the Year but the evening started with a special award to recognise a single action that had massive implications for the Club and for the Club’s members in particular.

The Special Felix Award went to Will Smith for his brilliant and speedy actions in helping save the life of one of the Club’s members who had capsized and stopped breathing. This club member has gone on to make a full recovery and is back on the river and competing to the delight of everybody at the Club. At the time Will wanted no fuss and no recognition but the Club wanted to take the occasion of the AGM to mark a very special ‘Thank You’ to recognise this great example to all.

The Senior Felix Award went to Jane Hadland who has put in hours and hours of unpaid time for the Club sorting out the Club’sSuABC AGM May 2016 4 Jane membership and general administration. All the Club members’ enquiry emails get answered by Jane and she is also an active social member who is always ready to help.

SuABC AGM May 2016 9 ConradThe Junior Felix Award went to Conrad Bird, for his all round contribution on and off the water. Conrad was considered to be a great crew member who works hard and competes to win and has a great competitive future ahead of him. Said Stephen Haighton, Chairman of Stratford Boat Club, “Conrad is also the first person to volunteer to help out and when he does, it is always with a smile and he can be relied on to do what he says he is going to do. Recently he has been absolutely essential in our boat maintenance team, working with our Boatman, Phil Marshall, and he has also been a great advocate of Junior opinion. So a great all-round performance is now properly recognised.”

The AGM was very lively with passionate debate on all aspects of the Club’s governance and an example of democracy in action. SuABC First Aid May 2016 2

On Sunday, the Club had a second refresher course on first aid which was attended by coaches, parent helpers, senior members and delegates from other local clubs. Head Coach Andrew Roe commented, “Although most of the coaches and helpers were up to date with first aid practice, it is essential to have a refresher course now and then to understand new techniques such as the use of defibrillators to ensure that those we look after are as safe as possible.”

Stratford upon Avon Boat Club arranges many courses throughout the year for coaches, parent helpers, young leaders and all members to ensure that the Club follows best practice to minimise accidents and danger.

Celebrations at Stratford Boat Club

Friday evening 13 May saw great celebrations at Stratford upon Avon Boat Club as the new training room and refurbished Club RoomSuABC Open SH 41 JR were opened by James Roe MBE and Nadhim Zahawi MP

Said Stephen Haighton, Chairman of Stratford Boat Club, “We have been extraordinarily lucky here at the Boat Club that we got together the right team, with the right vision, ambition, skills, talent and commitment, ably lead by Glyn Hawkins for whom this has been virtually a full time job and who we recognised with honorary life membership last week. We were also very fortunate to have the right people advising us included some great partners such as MRT Architects and Iris Construction and invaluable help from Alan Meegan at British Rowing”

SuABC Open SH 26 PROther guests included chief executives and senior executives from Sport England, British Rowing and Stratford Town Trust who provided just under £200k between them to fund the project

Commented Paul Stanton, President, “The key objectives and main reasons for building are to provide all-weather year round training facility, to improve access for disabled athletes and to increased participation in sport and rowing. There have been a number of very generous individual donations including my predecessor Felix Badcock whose estate provided £12,500 for the development. He was a very passionate advocate of building the extension and we know that the finished result is a fitting memorial to him”

“We will be continuing with our fund raising activities with the aim of paying the bank loan off early,” stated Glyn Hawkins, leadSuABC Open SH 31 Gotrel committee member for the refurbishment. “We are very keen to attract more sponsors and we hope that progressive local businesses will see that the Boat Club is a thriving Stratford community asset and want to be associated with us”

On Sunday, Stratford upon Avon Boat Club Masters squad were back on the water commencing their regatta season with a tough baptism at Nottingham Masters’ Regatta. This high standard event which attracts some of the best crews in the country was held in good weather conditions which contributed to some high quality racing

Pavilion large (6)IMG_1894First up for Stratford was Chris Straw and Joe Moore in Masters’ F double sculls who put in a brave performance finishing third in their event. Chris and Joe followed this up with Mike Atkins and Simon Moore in Masters’ F quad sculls
In an excellent race against Peterborough, Stratford lead out to the 600 metre mark only to be pipped by Peterborough by four seconds in a time of 4.02 minutes

Final race of the day saw Gary Clay, Tom Doherty, Richard Nelson and Simon Beard competing in Masters’ ESuABC Open SH 8 revd coxless fours. After a shipwreck on the start which cost Stratford two lengths on the rest of the field, the crew settled into a good race pace and by 500 metres had overhauled the entire field to lead at the halfway mark, a position they held until 800 metres when they were just overhauled to finish third 2.5 seconds behind the race winners Express from Cambridge in a time of three minutes and 40 seconds

Said Tom Doherty, “Whilst our own race result was disappointing, it was pleasing to see three masters crews from Stratford all competing so competitively at a high quality regatta this early in the season and bodes well for the rest of the regatta season”

For more media coverage, see Stratford herald p2 and p19 and The Stratford Observer p39

Successful Weekend at Evesham

Bank Holiday Saturday saw the Masters D Crew from Stratford upon Avon Boat Club win the Masters Coxed Fours event at EveshamSuABC Evesham April May regatta 1 Masters D Crew Regatta. The crew of Stephen Haighton, Glyn Hawkins, Tim Lunel and Wallace Brown, coxed by Jennifer Cary, beat a home crew from Evesham in the final, recording a creditable time of three minute and forty seconds over the 1,000meter course. Although this was the first race for the new squad which also features Simon Skillings as ‘fifth man’, it proved excellent preparation for their attempt at the National Masters Championships in June.

Said Tom Doherty, “This was a great result. Well done to all. It’s great to have winning crews across the Masters’ squad!”

SuABC Evesham Regatta April May 20 GabyNot to be outdone by the Men’s Squad, Gaby Walker won her Women’s Novice 1x. Commented Helen Smith, Senior & Performance Women’s Captain, “This was superb. A good day for Stratford all round!”

The Junior Squad had a J16 2x win and finalists with their WJ15 4+, WJ15 4x+, WJ14 4x+, J16 4x, J18 1x, J15 2x athletes and crews.

For media coverage, see Stratford Herald p18, online at http://bit.ly/1TvoJ7T and Stratford Observer online at http://bit.ly/1T4xWtC

For more great photographs, see David Phillips’ selection at http://bit.ly/1WdtnhJ

Weekend of Celebration for Boat Club

Whilst all the celebrations were happening in Stratford, three of Stratford upon Avon Boat Club crews were representing the WestSuABC JIRR April 2016 girls quad 1 Midlands at the Junior Inter-Regional Regatta which was held on the multi-lane course at Nottingham on Saturday. Competition was keen and all Stratford’s crews responded well to it.

The girls’ J14 coxed four of Lara Davies, Ellie Gray, Issy Marsden, Maddie Winsper coxed by Robin Connolly qualified for the A Final. A most superb row saw them SuABC JIRR April 2016 girls four 1finish in fourth place missing the bronze medal by two seconds.

This race was followed by the girls’ J14 coxed quad with Katie Wellstead, Gracie Mitchell, Katie Phillips, Emily Browne supremely coxed by Mimi Hill which also qualified for the A Final and with a spirited row finished fifth out of twelve crews.

Next came the boys’ J16 coxless quad of Conrad Bird, Will Buckley, Khalid Ahmed and Isaac Herring who raced immaculately in an extremely high quality field finishing second in the B Final and eighth overall.

Said coach Dr Graham Collier, “The Boat Club is delighted with the performances of all the athletes: they represented their club and the region so very, very well.”P1040313

Earlier that morning, two coaches and a junior member had appeared on BBC Coventry & Warwickshire Radio’s Grassroots outside broadcast sports programme from Stratford with Lorna Bailey to talk about the Club’s expansion and successes and plans for the future. Said Jessica Wiesheu, J14 sculler, “Being part of The Lorna Bailey Show was great fun: I was able to explain what a ‘buzz’ I get from rowing and being part of a crew”

On Sunday, whilst several Club members were taking part in the Stratford and London marathons, Christine Goodwin, Club Welfare Officer, and three colleagues from the Wildmoor Spa took part in their own ergo marathon to raise funds for The Shakespeare Hospice: the ergo marathon was over the same distance as the London and Stratford marathons.SuABC Goodwin April 2016 revd

Said colleague Tom Doherty, “Christine completed her marathon distance of over 42 km in just over three hours and seven minutes, the fastest recorded time for any woman of any age group in the UK, a tremendous achievement.  On this score she is fourth in the world for her age group and seventh for all ages. She maintained very consistent splits throughout the distance, taking her rate up for the last 8500m to ensure she beat her nearest rival.”

Fellow members of Stratford Boat Club were there for the later stages to cheer Christine on and celebrate her success.  Her husband and coach, Shaw Goodwin, again gave a great level of support on the day as well as in the lead up to the trial.

Christine is planning to row the Boston Marathon in the autumn. Said Chairman Stephen Haighton, “This is some achievement by Christine! This was really well done and many congratulations to her: hopefully, the best is yet to come as Christine now has access to world class training facilities at the Club too!”P1040339

The final celebration of a packed weekend was the ‘soft’ opening of the Club’s new Pavilion training suite on Sunday: this will now enable the Club to expand and cater for the increased sporting needs for athletes in the Stratford area

For online media coverage, see Stratford Herald http://bit.ly/1SxJ3Jk and Stratford Observer http://bit.ly/1SUBZIT. See also Stratford Observer hard copy back page 29 April

For more great pictures of JIRR, see David Phillips album https://www.flickr.com/…/135872444…/albums/72157667489977865

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 https://www.specsavers.co.uk/stores/stratforduponavon/stratford-specsavers-team-oars-up-support-for-boat-club

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 http://bit.ly/1LvnZ5q

Pictures courtesy of David Phillips: more great pictures can be seen at http://bit.ly/1ZanNup

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 http://bit.ly/1U3jVvu