Excellent Scratch Regatta to Finish 2023!

Stratford upon Avon Boat Club’s traditional Boxing Day Scratch regatta over 600m from the ferry to the Club grounds is always a superb attraction for the Stratford upon Avon townsfolk and visitors to the town for Christmas.

This Boxing Day Scratch Regatta was no exception as twenty four rowers together with volunteer coxes took part in the coxed fours knockout racing with the bonus of enjoying the sunshine and chance to get out on the river which recently has been hampered by high and fast river conditions.

The ‘luck of the draw’ brought together combinations of adults, juniors and novice rowers and it was also wonderful to see the previous juniors returning from university to join in the fun including athletes likely to be competing in the March 2024 University Boat Race. This year the races were followed the safety launch and the crews were given Santa’s reindeer names in keeping with the season! Starting at the ferry, the guaranteed wild steering, splashing and crabbing did not disappoint the spectators as the crews dashed towards the finish at the club but gave the organisers the occasional unwarranted cause for slight concern!

Commenting, Amanda Bowden, Women’s Masters Vice Captain who acted as finish umpire said,” Well done and thanks to all who came down to race and to those who came and supported the event. The winners of the plate competition were ‘Prancer’ with the overall winners of the valued chocolates were ‘Dancer’!”

Kjersti Rogneflaten Wolley, a member of the winning crew, reflecting on the event said, “It was great Boxing Day racing. Each round had its excitement, first with a crab and the second with a crash of oars and boats: possibly not our prettiest rowing but we went for power and persistence which won through!”

Commenting further, Paul Stanton, the Club’s President said, “Many thanks go to Dave Edwards, Masters Men’s Vice Captain for organising the event; Amanda Bowden; Ian Wilcock, Safety Officer on the launch and to Dawson Curnock, Chairman and starter for running the event. The start of 2024 is looking good and the Club looks forward to training and competing in local, regional and national head of the river races.”

For media coverage, please see Stratford Herald online https://www.stratford-herald.com/sport/dancer-is-the-winner-in-the-battle-of-reindeer-on-the-river-9346375 and page thirty eight and also Stratford Observer online https://stratfordobserver.co.uk/sport/rowing-stratford-boat-club-end-year-with-annual-boxing-day-regatta-2 and back sports page https://stratfordobserver.co.uk/editions/view/?/Stratford/2024/01/05&pages=24.

For more great pictures of the Boxing Day Scratch Regatta, see Kathy and Stuart Baines’ excellent selection https://onedrive.live.com/?authkey=%21AKRzlgR1ojfobI0&id=3DD8F6A70C0CB625%21255859&cid=3DD8F6A70C0CB625

Awards Galore for Boat Club Members!

At its recent AGM, Stratford upon Avon Boat Club took time out to recognize ‘Personalities of the Year’: these are awards voted on by all the coaches of the Club. The pots for the awards were donated by Felix Badcock’s (immediate Past President) wife Jane from the vast collection that Felix had amassed over many years of competitive rowing which gave the awards special provenance and significance
The Junior Felix Award was presented to Martha Usselmann. Her citation read, “Martha has assisted with every session of the Participation Group since the Autumn. She has developed a good relationship with the athletes and provides excellent technical input and coaching on land and on water”
The Senior Felix Award for 2022 was awarded to Paul Beardmore. His citation read, “Paul is a regular, constant and reliable helper with the adaptive, progression and daytime rower squads, getting boats ready for the adaptive rowers and helping the athletes into their boats and crewing on the safety launch. In addition, Paul is always willing to help in other duties such as jet washing and cleaning the launches, jet washing the boating areas and other maintenance tasks”
Commenting, Dawson Curnock, Chairman of Stratford Boat Club said, “Stratford Boat Club is built on the ethos of volunteering and Martha and Paul exemplify this in bucket loads. It is heartening to see more volunteers stepping forward to help with our regatta in a couple of weeks’ time on Saturday 18 June and many helpers have also signed up to become qualified launch drivers to assist our coaches and ensure the safety of our members whilst out on the water”
The week started well also for the Club’s Head Adaptive Coach Mark Dewdney who was presented with Mayor’s Award 2021/2022 by Cllr Kevin Taylor, the outgoing Mayor of Stratford upon Avon. Cllr Taylor commented, “This was one of the last and most pleasurable task that I undertook whilst I was still in office, and this was to present my Mayor’s Award 2021/2022 to someone I believe has got that little extra when it comes to community spirit. 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. Volunteers such as Mark are critical in the delivery of projects in the area: they are the catalysts in delivering programmes such as this. Well done, Mark: this award is incredibly well deserved!”
Commenting further, Paul Stanton, Stratford Boat Club’s President said, “Mark continues to inspire all around with his tireless efforts with the adaptive squad not only within Stratford but nationally where Stratford’s adaptive squad has become an exemplar for disabled sport”

For media mention, please see Stratford Herald page fifty nine and Stratford Observer online https://www.stratfordobserver.co.uk/…/rowing-stratford… and back sports page https://www.stratfordobserver.co.uk/editions/view/?/Stratford/2022/06/10&pages=024

Onwards to 2022!

In celebration of Christmas, the athletes from Stratford upon Avon Boat Club took to the water on Sunday for their annual Boxing Day Scratch Regatta. In a change from the usual format, Club members raced in the more sturdy boats due to the river conditions following the traditional Warwickshire Christmas Day downpour!

Crews were formed of current members and former Club members at home in the area for the festive period. The excesses of Christmas Day did little to dampen the competitive spirit amongst the crews on the water and each of the morning races was hotly contested.

Successfully making it through the early rounds, the stage was set for the final between “Puddings” (Cameron Dalrymple-Baker, Martha Usselmann, Talei Dunn, Alice Baines and Matilda Watts) and “Pies” (Richard Aitchison, Katie Phillips, Katie Wellstead, Tomi Wilcock and Beth Edwards). A clash of blades and suspect steering forced a re-row of the final race and in the repeat attempt, a clean race saw “Puddings” triumph by half a length – a just result for the season!

Athletes were supported by family members and members of the public and Christmas visitors to the town also came down to watch the spectacle and cheer: the crews were supported by Club volunteers driving the safety launch and acting as scorers.

Dr Graham Collier, Vice Chairman said, “All races were over a short sprint course from the Ferry to the Club grounds on the Town stretch of the River Avon.” The racing provided great interest to early morning sightseers and visitors watching from the Recreation Ground, The Royal Shakespeare Theatre Terrace, Bancroft Gardens and The Tramway Bridge. Said Dawson Curnock, Chairman of Stratford Boat Club, “The scratch regatta caught the imagination of all who came down to the river and this year’s racing included many more juniors and it was good to welcome many athletes home from university.”

Commenting, Steve Wellstead, Junior Co-ordinator and competitor said, “It was great to have such a mix of members competing and especially spectator parents and families. Their participation in the running of the Club has been a great bonus as they bring management and organizational skills to the Club as well as offering their time and effort volunteering and carrying out maintenance and other jobs.”

Stratford upon Avon Boat Club will be back on the river this New Year weekend and after the New Year, athletes will be training hard for the 2022 head season and the Club’s own regatta in June.

For media coverage, see Stratford Herald online https://www.stratford-herald.com/sport/puddings-edge-pies-in-final-race-re-row-9232678 and page thirty seven. Also Stratford Observer online https://www.stratfordobserver.co.uk/sport/rowing-stratford-upon-avon-boat-club-hosts-annual-boxing-day-scratch-regatta and back sports page https://www.stratfordobserver.co.uk/editions/view/?/Stratford/2022/01/07&pages=024

For more great pictures of our Boxing Day Scratch Regatta, see Stuart Baines’ selection https://1drv.ms/u/s!AiQkY1SNwjpDgoxheTOWymdH16IC3Q?e=U2U7By

Awards and Appointments at Stratford Boat Club

At their recent annual general meeting, Stratford upon Avon Boat Club made several awards and appointments. Appointed as Club Welfare Officer was Heather Hayton, Masters’ sculler, and as Club Safety Advisor, Ian Wilcox. Their appointments were unanimously agreed by Club members at the AGM

Commenting, Paul Stanton, President of Stratford upon Avon Boat Club, said, “Stratford Boat Club depends entirely on volunteers and it is most heartening to welcome Heather and Ian into senior posts: their expertise and enthusiasm will be a great asset in the years to come. The management and running of the Club depends entirely on volunteers such as committee members, coaches, vice captains, boat maintenance, safety and training launch drivers and other volunteers and those who run our special events such as our regatta and Fun Regatta. Without them, the Club would not exist!”

Awarded at the AGM was the Junior Felix Award. The Club took time to recognize ‘The Junior Personality of the Year’: this award was voted on by all the coaches of the Club. The pots for the award were donated by Felix Badcock’s (immediate Past President) wife Jane from the vast collection that Felix had amassed over many years of competitive rowing which give the awards special provenance and significance

The Junior Felix Award was presented to Lucy Browne. Lucy’s citation from the coaches reads: “Lucy stands out as a junior member showing a true Club ethos. Always happy to prioritise her time for others and give support, advice and a smiling face to members of all ages. She is genuinely valued by the Club in what has been a very challenging year for all and she is a role model to younger athletes and a good ambassador for the Club ensuring that the positive reputation for Stratford is maintained outside our usual sphere”

Said Dawson Curnock, Chairman of Stratford upon Avon Boat Club, “We are very proud of Lucy and what she has achieved over this last difficult year and the massive help that she has been to the Junior squad: a shining example of selflessness and concern for others!”

For media coverage, see Stratford Herald page fifty nine