Stratford’s Dewdney Summoned By High Sheriff!

Thursday evening saw Stratford upon Avon Boat Club’s Head Adaptive Coach Mark Dewdney at Warwick School for a surprise reception and presentation by the outgoing High Sheriff of Warwickshire, The Lady Willoughby de Broke with a certificate “… in recognition of great and valuable services to the community”.

The award was nominated by Cllr Kevin Taylor, Mayor of Stratford upon Avon who said, “Great night on Thursday evening attending The High Sheriff of Warwickshire’s Evening reception where she presented awards to various charities from around Warwickshire. Stratford upon Avon charities Lifespace, Safeline and the Street Pastors were all given awards.

All of the Warwickshire Mayors were requested to nominate a volunteer of the year award and it was a great honour to nominate Mark Dewdney, Head Adaptive Coach and main instigator of the adaptive rowing squad at Stratford upon Avon Boat Club.

Mark is a truly inspirational character with a vision of creating an incredibly inclusive and important section of a great sporting club. He works tirelessly to deliver and although now supported by a very willing number of dedicated volunteers, without his vision drive and enthusiasm this would have never happened.”

Kevin continued, “Volunteers such as Mark are critical in the delivery of projects in the area: they are the catalysts in delivering programmes such as this and I know I will be seeking Mark’s advice in how to deliver an adaptive group within Stratford upon Avon Table Tennis Club. Well done, Mark: this award is incredibly well deserved!”

Commenting further, Paul Stanton, President of Stratford upon Avon Boat Club said, “Mark had no idea that this award was coming and it was very special to have the evening and award presented by The High Sheriff Lady Willoughby de Broke. We are immensely proud of Mark and all that he has done for the Club and the local community: the adaptive section and the Club goes from strength to strength and is reliant and built on the volunteering ethic that Mark exemplifies!”

For media inclusion, see Stratford Herald page fifty nine and online https://www.stratford-herald.com/sport/boat-club-coach-scoops-surprise-volunteer-of-the-year-award-9249269

Stratford’s Adaptives Out In Force at Henley on Thames Phyllis Court

Sunday saw a very large contingent of Stratford upon Avon Boat Club’s adaptive (disabled) section descend on Henley-on-Thames to take part in The Phyllis Court Time Trials. This event has become the major highlight of the adaptive calendar: times achieved are used as a major indicator of performance and determine the format of competition for the coming regatta season.

The Stratford Boat Club entered ten crews, more than a third of the total entry. This included Rob Pedley, Lee Cairns and Dan Browne competing in their first ever event. On the day there were thirteen adaptive rowers making their debut: this is a very good indicator for the growth of rowing for the disabled.

In perfect but cold conditions, the Stratford rowers again proved they are a force to be reckoned with. Performances, especially from the new members of the squad, made the Head Adaptive Coach extremely proud and happy, no bad thing for coach/ athlete relationships! Mark Dewdney, Head Adaptive Coach said, “The squad is now so large that we spend a lot of our time at regattas just making sure all the kit is available when it needs to be. This may be tiring and a major undertaking for all the coaches and helpers as well as the athletes but good results will always make the effort worthwhile! The section is heavily reliant on volunteers who give their time freely: this is why the team works so well!”

Given the nature of the event, the awards are only given out for special performances: this year these focussed on the new rowers, Stratford taking two of the six prizes. One prize went to Dan Browne and ‘buddy rower’ and Adaptive Coach Joe Moore as the fastest new double and Rob Pedley took the Coaches’ Award for the most impressive debut of the day.

Also at Phyllis Court to support Stratford Boat Club’s adaptive squad were Kevin Taylor, Mayor of Stratford upon Avon and Stratford Boat Club President, Paul Stanton. Commenting, Paul said, “We were honoured to have Kevin with us and his support for the adaptive squad on the day and during his tenure as Mayor of Stratford upon Avon means a lot to us and exemplifies Kevin’s commitment and dedication to sport, those who are less fortunate and the culture of volunteering: we have all learnt a lot from Kevin over this last year”

Commenting further, Paul said, “Our welcome and attentive company from Phyllis Court was outstanding to both me and the Mayor of Stratford upon Avon, a glorious morning spent in the company of kind and considerate people. We marvelled at their organisation, lots of marquees, genuine smiling faces and ever welcome to assist on any request. Speaking on behalf of the competitors from our adaptive squad, our thanks for their hospitality and assistance. Phyllis Court Rowing Club are a very friendly bunch of caring people!”

Kevin Taylor, Mayor of Stratford upon Avon, summed up the day by saying, “Thank you so much for a thoroughly enjoyable day: we are immensely proud of everyone assisting and participating within the group and we look forward to coming along again soon!”

For media coverage, please see Stratford Herald online https://www.stratford-herald.com/sport/adaptive-squad-makes-waves-at-time-trials-9248001 and page fifty one and also Stratford Observer online https://www.stratfordobserver.co.uk/sport/rowing-stratfords-adaptives-out-in-force-at-henley-on-thames

Stratford’s Adaptives sponsored by Listers Toyota!

Following on from the 2020 Paralympic Games run in Tokyo in 2021 when Toyota worldwide sponsored the Paralympic Games, local Stratford company Listers Toyota have come to the aid of Stratford upon Avon Boat Club’s ever growing adaptive section with sponsorship for 2022

Listers Toyota Stratford is the official Toyota dealer for Stratford upon Avon and offers a wide range of new and used Toyota vehicles and also can provide small business and fleet services as well as servicing and parts and is situated in Stratford upon Avon town centre, just off the Birmingham Road, near the Maybird Shopping Park.

Listers Group Limited also has their head office at the Stratford Business and Technology Park: founded in 1979 when the company opened their first business in Coventry, the focus has always been to put the customer first. Over forty years later, this focus has helped the business grow to over fifty dealerships and service centres across England, becoming one of the largest family-owned automotive businesses in the UK, representing eighteen of the most-recognised and prestigious brands.

Said Paul Stanton, Stratford upon Avon Boat Club’s President, “Being associated with caring local successful businesses in the area is very important to the Club as we share their commitment to the area’s prosperity and wellbeing. Listers Toyota Stratford’s sponsorship of the adaptive section for the year is much appreciated and helps us to offer sport and recreation to a wider spectrum of adaptive athletes.”

Commenting, Mark Dewdney, Stratford’s Adaptive Head Coach, said, “We first came in contact with Listers Toyota Stratford through Toyota worldwide sponsorship of the recent Paralympic Games and then during the adaptive section’s celebration having won Parasport ‘Club of the Year’. Listers Toyota Stratford’s sponsorship has gone towards equipment for the adaptive section and the whole Club funding recent much needed equipment such as a stable two person multipurpose boat (double); fixed seats which allow those with paraplegia or with severe low limb impairment to row; narrow riggers which allow those with lower limb impairment to propel the boat more effectively; pair riggers which allow those with one sided and/or dexterity issues to row with a single oar if they cannot use two; a bucket seat which benefits cerebral palsy

© Courtesy of Mark Williamson, Stratford Herald

sufferers and grip aids to assist those lacking dexterity.”

Colin Upchurch, the Club’s Vice President said, “The synergy between the Club and Listers Toyota Stratford has been pivotal for the Club as whole, enabling us to continue to move forward and offer sport for all in the local community. Recently we have used Listers Toyota Stratford’s sponsorship to fund additional racking for our boats and a wheelchair height tap for our athletes to fill their water bottles, essential progress for all. We are most grateful to Richard Burt and Joseph Hawkins at Listers Toyota Stratford for their sponsorship.”

For media coverage see Stratford Herald page fifty two and online https://www.stratford-herald.com/sport/toyota-backing-to-aid-growing-adaptive-squad-9239541 and Stratford Observer https://www.stratfordobserver.co.uk/sport/rowing-stratford-upon-avon-boat-club-adaptive-section-sponsored-by-listers-toyota

Stratford Boat Club Has A Weekend of Thanks

 

The weekend was a busy one for Stratford upon Avon Boat Club and on Saturday the Club welcomed many dignitaries to help the Club celebrate the addition of several boats to the fleet. After a short welcome, Paul Stanton, Stratford Boat Club’s President, took the opportunity of thanking those who had donated the funds to buy the boats and to congratulate Mark Dewdney, Head Adaptive Coach, who had co- and spearheaded the fundraising. Commenting, Paul Stanton said, “The arrival of the new boats will not only be a great benefit to the adaptive section but to the whole Club: the boats will be used for Learn to Row courses, the summer junior camps, weekday rowers, juniors, seniors and masters – able-bodied and adaptive athletes alike”

First to name a boat were Cllr Kevin Taylor, Mayor of Stratford upon Avon, and Mrs Pauline Taylor, Mayoress: the double scull that they named was ‘Lucetta’, Waiting Women to Julia in Shakespeare’s Two Gentlemen of Verona. This stable double scull has been purchased with the help of Sport England

The Club has benefited considerably from Cllr Tony Jackson’s Mayor’s Charitable Fund during his term of office as the previous Mayor of Stratford and so it was fitting that Tony and his wife Mandy were called upon to name the next boat ‘Julia’, Lady of Verona again from Two Gentlemen of Verona

Stratford Boat Club has had a long association with The Shakespeare Lions and their sponsorship and encouragement of young adults to achieve their potential: Peter Humberstone, representing The Shakespeare Lions, named a single scull ‘Silvia’, the Duke of Milan’s Daughter. This single scull has been purchased with the help of The Rowing Foundation who also provided funds towards the new ramp which enables adaptive rowers to access the boating area more easily

For some considerable time, Stratford Boat Club has had an adaptive launch called ‘Juno’ but due to Covid restrictions, it had not been possible to ‘name’ the boat formally. The specially designed safety craft has a bow ramp which can be lowered to rescue any capsized adaptive athlete and having this capability has meant that the adaptive squad has been able to offer rowing to a wider circle of athletes. The adaptive launch ‘Juno’ was bought with the help of donations from Henley Regatta Charitable Trust and is sponsored by Salts Healthcare, is one of the UK’s oldest, family-run companies that has grown to become a highly successful international medical device manufacturer. Naming ‘Juno’ was Mrs Caroline Salt, Director of Salts Healthcare, and Mrs Annabelle Salt-Forster. Both Caroline and Annabelle were former rowing members of Stratford Boat Club along with Phil Salt, former Captain of the Club

Also thanked for their contributions and support were Cliff Armstrong, President of the Rotary Club of Stratford upon Avon; The Town Trust and local press and media

The Club and guests then moved from the water’s edge around to the entrance to the Club where a new AED/defibrillator has been installed for public use. Paul Stanton took this opportunity to thank Club coach, Trevor Tiller, for his hard work in crowd funding the appeal for purchasing the equipment and to Tom Doherty, Land & Buildings Committee Member for wiring up the device and Jim Blatcher for giving training on the defibrillator. ‘Opening’ the AED/defibrillator was Tara Doncses, Director of Holloway Property Development Ltd who had contributed to the funding appeal

For media coverage, see Stratford Herald page seventy six

… AND FINALLY: STRATFORD BOAT CLUB ADAPTIVE SECTION GETS IT’S AWARD!

Thursday was a great day for Stratford upon Avon Boat Club’s adaptive section with the squad finally being awarded their plaque for winning Parasport Club of the Year!

The day was much enhanced by a visit from Ellen Buttrick, Paralympic Rowing Gold Medal winner from Tokyo 2020, and Alice Tai, Paralympic, World, European and Commonwealth Swimming Champion. The two Paralympian athletes jointly presented the Parasport Club of the Year winner’s plaque to the adaptive section

Guests at the presentation also included Barry Lloyd, Parasport Campaign Project Manager for the British Paralympic Association; Richard Burt, Centre Principal, Listers Toyota; Joseph Hawkins, Marketing Manager, Listers Group Ltd; Cllr Kevin Jackson, Mayor of Stratford upon Avon and Jo Atkinson, Community Support Manager, British Rowing. Toyota is the sponsor for the Paralympic Games

As well as the presentation, Ellen Buttrick and Alice Tai took to the water in Stratford Boat Club’s adaptive boats with adaptive athletes and coaches and were shown a typical adaptive session as well as inspecting some of the Club’s specialised adaptive equipment

Mark Dewdney, Stratford Boat Club’s Head Adaptive Coach said, “We are very grateful for this accolade and winning Parasport Club of the Year has been a great morale booster for the adaptive athletes. To have the winner’s plaque presented by such inspirational Paralympian athletes as Ellen and Alice was the crowning glory!”

Commenting, Paul Stanton, President of Stratford upon Avon Boat Club said, “To have our adaptive section recognised with this award and have so many guests see and understand what it takes to get adaptive athletes safely onto the water is a great honour. We look forward to consolidation our co-operation with local companies to make our adaptive section accessible to all disabled athletes where possible”

For media coverage, see Stratford Herald page fifty nine and online at https://www.stratford-herald.com/sport/paralympians-visit-a-crowning-glory-9218428 and also Stratford Observer online at https://stratfordobserver.co.uk/sport/paralympic-champions-present-club-with-top-award

Stratford Boat Club Regatta: Another Great Success despite Covid!

A marvelous late summer day with the weather ideal for racing! Great participation from crews local and further afield from Evesham, Stourport, Hereford, Becket School Rowing Club (Nottingham), Worcester, AB Severn Rowing Club (Tewkesbury), Pengwern Boat Club (Shrewsbury), Lagan Scullers’ Club (Belfast), Marlow, City of Oxford and Agecroft Rowing Club (Salford)  as well as major entries from Stratford upon Avon Boat Club. The regatta this year had three divisions and two adaptive (disabled) divisions and one hundred and sixteen separate races starting at 08.30 and running all day through until a prompt close at 16.30hrs!

Dr Graham Collier, Stratford Boat Club’s Regatta Secretary said, “This year we were very heartened by the huge turn out from local and distant clubs and the interest from the public who also had the bonus of having the Stratford Town Food Festival close by. A massive thanks to all our hard working Stratford Boat Club members, visiting crews, umpires and officials and especially the public for supporting the event. We were especially honoured to have Stratford upon Avon Town Council Mayor Councillor Kevin Taylor attend the regatta.”

Steve Wellstead, Stratford Boat Club’s Junior Co-ordinator and Course Marshal commented. “It was a long day’s racing: our tea tent was extremely busy dispensing dozens of cakes and snacks: what a magnificent day topped by great racing!  We decided to stay with the shortened 650 metre course to ensure the safety of all the competitors and river users: we ran the regatta under very tight Covid rules and protocols.  We were especially grateful for the help and tolerance of those operators who work and make their living on the river.”

Commenting further, Mark Dewdney, Stratford Boat Club’s Head Adaptive Coach said, “It was very heartening to see at least fifteen adaptive races in two divisions and the fact that an adaptive sculler came over from Belfast to compete in our regatta speaks volumes! To see the effort that the adaptive athletes, helpers and supporters put into racing was very humbling and gratifying!”

Saturday’s busy regatta was followed by Sunday’s Shakespeare Hospice Dragon Boat Racing with more action on the river: Stratford Boat Club’s 2022 Regatta is tentatively scheduled for the more usual month of June, Covid permitting! Paul Stanton, Stratford Boat Club’s President said, “We were blessed with good weather and large crowds watching the racing adding much to Stratford’s atmosphere and vitality: we were glad to showcase our sport and demonstrate our part in the success of our town!”

For media coverage, see Stratford Herald pages fifty six and page fifty four and Stratford Observer online https://stratfordobserver.co.uk/sport/straford-boat-club-regatta-back-on-the-water

For more great pictures of the regatta, see Stuart Baines’ selection: https://1drv.ms/u/s!AiW2DAyn9tg9jv0hRZs7yxtLL3GInw?e=CcLB9s

Trophies Presented for 2020/2021 for President’s Sculls

The week ended for Stratford Boat Club with the presentation of trophies on Sunday for the winners of The President’s Sculls competition run over 2020 and 2021 due to the interruption by Covid. The winner of the Men’s Trophy was Tim Lunel and the Ladies’ Trophy was Heather Hayton, neither of whom could attend. However, Tim sent a note to Paul Stanton, Stratford Boat Club’s President, saying, “Having concentrated almost exclusively on sweep oar rowing in my university rowing days, it has been really enjoyable to have the chance to transfer those skills to sculling at Stratford. It has been great to hear hints and tips from lots of Stratford Boat Club members. The fact that I was able to win the President Sculls is however due almost exclusively to the patience and good humour of Chris Straw. It was sculling with Chris, learning from him and being coached by him that means that at least I know what I am trying to do in getting a single scull moving quickly through the water – if only achieving it on rare occasions! Thank you Chris, this President’s Sculls’ prize is more yours than it is mine! Thank you Paul for making this competition happen and getting as many people in the Club to appreciate the joys of sculling”

The winner of the junior trophy was Freya Watts who came through her fiercely fought heats to win against all including some juniors older than her. The Adaptive trophy, repurposed/ recycled from Head Adaptive Coach, Mark Dewdney’s own collection was won by Jake Blatcher for his dedication and input to the adaptive squad over the last two years and his marked improvement in his sculling and rowing

Commenting, Paul Stanton said, “We are indebted to the Rose family for the original trophies which have again been recycled/repurposed for today’s presentation. Albert George Gerald Rose was the original benefactor and everyone knew him as Sonny and was captain of the Club in the early 1930’s and rowed in many winning fours. Sonny owned and ran The Boat House [now Avon Boating] next door. Tim Lunel’s pot is dated 1929 which Sonny won at Nottingham and Heather Hayton’s pot dates from 1927 and was awarded as the President’s Sculls. Jake Blatcher’s second trophy dates back to 1928 and was when Sonny won the Maiden Fours at Stratford’s own regatta. Freya Watts’ trophy dates from 1929 and appropriately was won by Sonny in the Junior Fours race at Ross Regatta where Freya raced last week with some considerable success!”

Stratford Boat Club is looking forward to its own Covid secure regatta on Saturday 18 September: racing will be from 08.00hrs to mid/late afternoon and there will be a catering wagon and bar open to all. Excellent views of the racing can be seen from the Club, Bancroft Gardens, The Royal Shakespeare Theatre Riverside Café and the Rec

For media coverage, see Stratford Herald page sixty one and online https://www.stratford-herald.com/sport/prestigious-trophies-handed-out-to-top-performers-9215851

A Busy Week for Stratford Boat Club!

It’s been a busy week for Stratford upon Avon Boat Club! On Thursday, the adaptive section had a visit from Cllr Tony Jackson, former Mayor of Stratford upon Avon, to see what his donation from The Mayor’s Fund had gone towards

Cllr Jackson during his term in office had three chosen causes which were Volunteers, People with Disabilities and Health and Well Being. Commenting Paul Stanton, President of Stratford upon Avon Boat Club said, “Tony has been a great supporter of the Club and especially the adaptive squad and he understands the importance of sport and recreation for the welling and health of the adaptive and other athletes”

Said Mark Dewdney, Stratford Boat Club’s Head Adaptive Coach, “Tony was most interested to learn of the extra and special equipment needed to get adaptive athletes onto the water such as a Madeleine chair for lifting athletes from their wheelchair to their boat; specially adapted seats enabling disabled athletes to row and use an ergo; a ramp for wheelchairs to access the pontoon for boating; floats for adaptive boats as well as the emergency rescue launch with all its specialised equipment, purchase and running costs. Tony was pleased to learn that his contribution from The Mayor’s Fund has gone towards some of these essential items as well as towards a new adaptive boat soon to arrive”

For media coverage, please see Stratford Herald page ten

Stratford’s Masters’, Adaptive & Junior Squads Competing at High Level!

The Junior and Masters squads of Stratford upon Avon Boat Club were in action again over the weekend on the hallowed waters of Henley-on-Thames.  As the trailer rolled into the historic town, the conditions could not have been better and gave no indication of what lay ahead.

Henley Town and Visitors Regatta provided high quality side by side racing over 800m on the Henley Royal Regatta course. Warm up complete, the Masters’ double scull of Henley Town and Visitors Regatta took to the water and made short work of their Guildford Rowing Cub competition in the first round. Steeling themselves for the final, the Hayton/Doherty combo turned swiftly and lined up against a quality crew from Poole & Warwick clubs. Sadly, victory was denied by a tight margin with the Poole/Warwick composite taking the win.

Then, it rained: with a biblical downpour in full effect the WJ18 quadruple scull of Jasmine Mountney, Isabelle Watts, Alice Baines and Mili Wilcock fully expected Noah and his Ark to be competing! Rowing up in the Senior Women’s event, the Stratford Boat Club athletes were drawn against what can only be described as a rowing super group consisting of Irish and Estonian national team members.

Unfazed, the J18 Stratford crew took their place on the start. The flag dropped and the girls went off well and held the Twickenham Rowing Club/ Thames Rowing Club/ Neptune Rowing Club composite to no more than half a length for the first half of the race. Experience won out in the end however and the composite took the win and went on to win the event overall. Commenting, Steve Wellstead, Junior Co-ordinator and J18 Performance Squad Coach commented, “That’s racing and indeed, the luck of the draw: onwards and upwards to Stourport Boat Club Regatta next Saturday!”

The Stratford Boat Club’s every increasing adaptive (disabled) squad competed at Maidenhead Rowing Club Regatta on Saturday. Xander Van Der Poll won his debut event in his single: in the final, he defeated a sculler from Northern Ireland by a considerable margin. Xander, a former King Edward The Sixth School pupil, is in the Great Britain Paralympic pathway system and hopes to represent Great Britain in the Paris Paralympics in 2024. He is one of two such athletes being developed by the Club’s adaptive section and can be seen on the Avon early most mornings training when not at Bristol University studying for his medical degree.

Gillian Middleton also made her first competitive appearance after only a few months rowing and an impressive one it was: she and her crewmate Joe Moore were only overhauled by a strong Marlow crew in the last few strokes of the final.

Paola and Ian Ward, in their final, were similarly overtaken close to the finish line by an all male Guildford crew. Dan Godefroy and Jake Blatcher were beaten by a technically excellent City of Oxford crew.

Said Mark Dewdney, Stratford Boat Club’s Head Adaptive Coach said, “Due to many last minute changes, some Stratford rowers were put in races against much faster opposition: on this occasion, this reduced our chances of multiple wins that we have had in most regattas in the last few years. Nonetheless, well done to all the rowers and helpers! We were very pleased with the general level of performance. Xander will face tougher opposition in the future so his training and steps along the GB Paralympic pathway will continue in earnest: Gillian’s performance was the star of the day! Stratford’s adaptive section is interested in everyone rowing as well as they can and we are happy as long as everyone rows well. The squad’s next outing is at Oxford on the 21st August in an event just for adaptive/disabled rowers.”

For media coverage see Stratford Herald online https://www.stratford-herald.com/sport/squads-show-they-can-compete-with-the-best-9211185 and page fifty.

For more great pictures of Henley Town & Visitors Regatta, see Kathy Baines’ selection at https://1drv.ms/f/s!AgY7EiDB2lCOhMdRfeSXA-kVvsp4wA

Adaptive Squad Back on the River!

Stratford upon Avon Boat Club’s adaptive squad this weekend was able to get back on the water under the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and British Rowing’s Covid exemption for disability sport

Welcoming the squad back onto the water was Stratford upon Avon’s Mayor, Councillor Tony Jackson with the Mayoress, Mandy Jackson together with Stratford Boat Club’s President, Paul Stanton

Commenting, Mark Dewdney, Head Adaptive Coach, said, “This weekend was very special for the adaptive squad as under the Covid exemption for disability sport, some of the adaptive athletes were able to get back to sport and recreation on the water. It took a lot of planning and risk assessments incorporating all the British Rowing Covid advice on sanitising and social distancing but it was certainly worth it. We’re hoping to get more adaptive athletes onto the water in the coming weeks and eventually the junior and adult members of the Club”

Paul Stanton, the Club’s President said, “Having the Mayor of Stratford upon Avon coming down to cheer the adaptive squad back onto the water was a great honour and boost for the squad’s morale. Councillor Jackson has three main chosen causes during his tenure as Mayor which are volunteers, people with disabilities and health and well being. Tony has been a great supporter of the Club and especially the adaptive squad and he understands the importance of sport and recreation for the welling and health of the adaptive athletes”

For media coverage, see Stratford Herald page fifty five and online https://www.stratford-herald.com/sport/adaptive-squad-back-on-the-water-9158578 and Stratford Observer online https://stratfordobserver.co.uk/sport/stratfords-adaptive-squad-back-on-the-river-28246

For more great pictures, see Trevor Tiller’s selection at https://1drv.ms/f/s!Ajo1zADNwhQAshunqy3A77kHhHxk