We Will Remember Them

The weekend was a busy and poignant one for Stratford upon Avon Boat Club with Club members taking time out from rowing to remember those who died in World Wars and other conflicts past and current

On Remembrance Sunday, the whole Club stopped to meet around the Club’s memorial: as is Club tradition, wreaths were laid by the Club’s oldest member, Colin Upchurch and the youngest member, Meredith Paul, to remember Club members who gave their lives in wars and conflicts. Seventy seven years separate Colin’s and Meredith’s rowing and life experience! The Club’s piper, Simon Moore, played during the act of remembrance

Commenting on the weekend of remembrance, Paul Stanton, Stratford Boat Club’s President said, “Whilst the Club is a forward looking organisation with its sights set firmly on the future, we take this time to look back, pause and give thanks for those who served and died for their country and colleagues so that we may live in peace and pursue our sport with happiness and joy. We were also pleased to have Avon Navigation Trust officers join our act of remembrance and be part of our community”

For media coverage, please see Stratford Herald page six and Stratford Observer online https://stratfordobserver.co.uk/sport/stratford-boat-club-pay-respects-on-remembrance-sunday

Salts Healthcare To The Rescue!

Stratford upon Avon Boat Club’s adaptive section is back on the water thanks to Salts Healthcare! Recently, Stratford’s disabled athletes couldn’t get out on the river because the engine on their specialised rescue safety launch Juno had irrevocably broken down after seventeen years’ service and funding for new one was urgently needed. Having the adaptive squad off the water was a major blow not only for Stratford Boat but also for the athletes’ wellbeing and exercise

Salts Healthcare is one of the UK’s oldest family-run companies that has grown to become a highly successful international medical device manufacturer. Today, the Salts Healthcare family of companies is more diverse than ever but their dedication to designing life-changing products remains the same.

Operating from headquarters in Birmingham, Salts is split into two divisions: Salts Stoma Care which designs and manufactures stoma care devices and additional products and Medilink, a national network of nineteen Dispensing Care Centres that supply and dispense stoma care and continence products by all manufacturers. Salts Healthcare invests heavily in research and development and works with healthcare professionals and educational facilities to improve and innovate, designing products that truly change lives.

Said Paul Stanton, Stratford upon Avon Boat Club’s President, “Salts Healthcare is a natural ‘fit’ with Stratford’s adaptives as we share common beliefs and goals: both organisations care, listen and innovate to improve lives, working to find better solutions, seize opportunities and overcome barriers”

Commenting further, Caroline Salt, Salts Healthcare said, “The link between Salts Healthcare and Stratford Boat Club is a long established one with many members of the Salt family having rowed with the Club and Philip Salt, the former CEO of Salts Healthcare, having been Captain of Boats at the Club: we know that the link is a strong one and will continue into the future”

The need for a new engine for the adaptive safety launch was highlighted by Stratford Herald who came to the assistance of Stratford Boat Club by publicising the plight of the adaptive section being off the water and this was picked up by Caroline Salt. Andy Veale, Editor of Stratford Herald said, “The Stratford Herald, like Stratford Boat Club, is at the heart of the community in Stratford and surrounding area and we were delighted to be of help and bring the two organisations together”

Getting the adaptive launch back onto the river was also helped by the speedy operation of Stratford Boat Club’s neighbours, Avon Boating, who ordered the engine and fitted it free in record time. Mark Dewdney, Head Adaptive Coach at Stratford Boat Club said, “Having Juno back on the water has meant a lot to our adaptive athletes in terms of their recreation and subsequent wellbeing: we are so grateful to Salts Healthcare for sponsoring the new engine. Stratford Boat Club has several ambitious projects in hand to enable us to offer rowing to a wider audience of disabled athletes to coincide with our celebration of one hundred and fifty years anniversary next year in 2024!”

For media coverage, please see British Rowing online news https://www.britishrowing.org/2023/09/salts-healthcare-gets-stratford-adaptive-rowers-back-on-the-water and Stratford Herald page thirty five


All Fun At The Fun Regatta!

Although the wait of a year seemed a long time, all the expectations of the Fun Regatta were met and even bettered! The Fun Regatta attracted competitors from local companies, villages and groups of friends and twenty four crews with just three hours’ training produced some quality rowing, ably coxed by skilled members of Stratford Boat Club’s junior squad and watched by crowds and friends from the Club’s grounds, the Bancroft Gardens and the Rec

Fun Regatta organiser Chris Belcher said, “We were heartened by the huge numbers who came to watch, cheer the competitors on and enjoy the spectacle even though the weather wasn’t ideal: it may not have been Henley Royal Regatta but we like to think that it was more fun to watch!”

Fancy dress was again a major part of the day, with crews dressed as Roman legionnaires; colourful Hawaiian shirts; the now immediately recognisable blue and yellow of Ukraine who were made very welcome by the watching crowds; ladies from Wilmcote dressed as swans; colourful hippies; crews with Mohican hairstyles; pink flamingos on their heads; others mascaraing as King Charles 111 (is this a treasonable offence? Off to the Tower with you!); ladies from Stratford’s Warwick Events; ladies looking suspiciously like Super Woman and many other colourful creations! Many crabs were caught and there was a lot of splashing but nobody capsized with the rescue launch staying on her mooring throughout the day! The eventual winners were Meander Club again Never Mind The Rollocks as runners up. Oarsome 4 Some took the fancy dress prize!

Commenting further, Chris Belcher Fun Regatta organiser added, “Through the hard work and all the efforts of Club members, we have been able to raise funds for replacing equipment, repairs and maintenance. As always, we are especially grateful for the tolerance of those who make their living on the river and to our sponsor Crowne Plaza Stratford.”

Dawson Curnock, Boat Club Chairman also commented, “The wait was worth it! A fun day was had by all and Stratford Boat Club was happy to contribute to the vitality and atmosphere of the town and give visitors and residents a cause for celebration!”

Paul Stanton, the Club’s President said, “We were so grateful that Stratford upon Avon’s Mayor Cllr Kate Rolfe and her Consort visited us and presented prizes to the winners: Stratford upon Avon Town Council’s support is essential for the encouragement for sport and recreation in the Warwickshire area and community. Thanks also to Sip ‘n’ Swig, Stratford Boat Club’s regatta bar contractors, for filling the winners’ tankards with beer: that made their day!”

Whilst the Club members were running the Fun Regatta, the Club’s masters’ squad were competing in a fantastic two days of racing at Henley Masters Regatta with another win for the masters women from Stratford upon Avon Boat Club.

Suzie Radley and Amanda Bowden joined forces with other clubs to form two composite eights: the racing consisted of heats, a semi and the finals. The fast starts and lengthy powerful rowing strokes were too strong for the opponents, resulting in two winning eights, beating a crew from USA and Marlow Rowing Club, respectively.

Further down the country, Llandaff near Cardiff was the venue for the latest regatta outing for Stratford upon Avon Boat Club’s adaptive squad. The experienced team from Stratford helped the local organisers to provide a fun and safe event. Stratford also loaned boats to Runcorn and Fishguard on the day so that all could compete. Honours were pretty much shared between the five adaptive clubs that attended: Stratford came away with most wins.

Andy Morris in the Open PR3 Singles beat his rival from Runcorn by little more than a length. He then teamed up with his young colleague Isaac Clarkson to take the Band 2 Doubles event: this was thirteen year old Isaac’s first pot. To complete his day, Andy then partnered the Runcorn sculler in Band 1 Doubles event against a Stratford/Ross double, winning by three lengths.

Jess Dowdewell continued the close rivalry with Rob Pedley in the PR1 Singles: another epic battle in the final saw Jess overcome Rob for the first time by just under a length. Commenting, Head Adaptive Coach Mark Dewdney said, “The best bit about the day was seeing new faces on the circuit: we have some new friends who all interested in taking adaptive and para rowing forward.”

Stratford’s junior squads were back on the water on Sunday after coxing at the Fun Regatta, putting in more training for the British Rowing’s Junior Championships at Strathclyde this coming weekend. Steve Wellstead, Junior Co-ordinator commented, “The junior squad will be heavily represented with crews from J14, J15, J16 and J17/18 categories all there for their chance for glory against some of the best schools and clubs in the country: we wish them luck! The logistics of getting multiple boats, trailers, coaches, athletes, coaches and supporters to Strathclyde is immense and I’d like to thank all who have given their support, time and effort to make this complex exercise possible!”

Further afield in Lucerne, Stratford Boat Club’s alumnae of Camilla Hadland and Esme Booth were both performing at the Rowing World Cup III this weekend. Camilla was doing an excellent job in the commentary box and Esme rowing in the GB Women’s Eight collecting an excellent gold medal!

For media coverage, please see Stratford Herald middle pages, British Rowing online https://www.britishrowing.org/2023/07/all-good-fun-at-stratfords-fun-regatta and Stratford Observer online https://www.stratfordobserver.co.uk/sport/rowing-boat-club-hosts-successful-fun-regatta

Three Schools, One Crew, One Club!

Stratford upon Avon Boat Club sent a crew to the world renowned Henley Royal Regatta Qualifiers recently. The crew of Will Beattie, Tomi Wilcock, Charles Happel and Toby Sartain who are from Stratford School, King Edward VI School and Kineton High School competed in the Junior Quads event, The Fawley Challenge Cup. This was the first time in a number of years that Stratford Boat Club has entered a crew to race at Henley Royal Regatta and one of the first times ever that a crew has been entered into The Fawley Challenge Cup.

The Fawley Challenge Cup is one of the biggest events of the regatta with seventy crews entered, only twenty four go into the regatta draw. Sixteen of the crews had already been pre-selected based on performances throughout the season and this meant the remaining fifty four crews needed to go through the qualifying heats to take the final eight slots.

The Stratford crew put in a strong effort with their best row of the season and a brilliant course steered by Toby Sartain. Unfortunately, the lightweight crew were not fast enough to qualify in the strong headwind conditions.

J17 Coach Abi Terry said, “It was great to see this talented group of lads competing on the course alongside the best crews in the world. During warm up, they were followed by the GB men’s eight and the GB women’s four, something that doesn’t happen at any other event! I am so proud of this group and all that they have achieved!”

Commenting further, Paul Stanton, Stratford upon Avon Boat Club’s President said, “Racing at Henley Royal Regatta is the dream of every rower and the fact that these J17 rowers have achieved this at a comparatively young age speaks volumes for their determination and hours of effort put into their training over the last five years. Moreover, it is a testament to the massive effort that their dedicated coaches have put into their development: Stratford Boat Club is forever indebted to our coaches and all volunteers who selflessly give their time and expertise week after week!”

Although it’s definitely not Henley, Stratford Boat Club’s Fun Regatta is this coming Saturday 08 July with racing from 09.00 through 16.30hrs and presentations by Stratford upon Avon’s Mayor Cllr Kate Rolfe at 17.00hrs for the wining crews and fancy dress! Bar, tea tent and catering wagon in the Boat Club’s grounds all day: all are welcome!

For media coverage see Stratford Herald page forty five and online https://www.stratford-herald.com/sport/quad-squad-relish-henley-experience-9320309 and Stratford Observer online https://www.stratfordobserver.co.uk/sport/rowing-stratford-boat-club-represented-in-prestigious-henley-royal-regatta-qualifiers

Stratford & Henley: Success All Round!

The weather couldn’t have been better for the Stratford upon Avon Boat Club regatta with only a little rain but great participation with local crews and further afield from Evesham Rowing Club, Magdalen College School Boat Club, King’s School Worcester Boat Club, Royal Grammar School Worcester Boat Club, Hereford Boat Club, Ross Rowing Club, Clifton College Boat Club, King Edward V1 as well as major entries from Stratford upon Avon Boat Club itself. The regatta this year had three divisions and one hundred and sixty three separate races starting at promptly at 08.30 and running all day through until a close at 17.30hrs! Running a regatta to time is no mean feat and is a tribute to the race organisers!

This year the Club was very heartened again by the huge turn out from local and distant clubs and the interest from the public. 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. The Club was especially honoured to have Stratford upon Avon Town Council Mayor Kate Rolfe attend the regatta and walk the course with Stratford Boat Club President, Paul Stanton.

Dan Warren, Regatta Secretary 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 ran the regatta under very tight protocols. We were especially grateful for the help and tolerance of those operators who work and make their living on the river.”

Saturday proved to be another day of rowing success, fun times and great learning for the Stratford Boat Club’s J13 squad. Starting off with Division One, in their straight final against Hereford Rowing, the Open J13 4x+ of Rory Rowan, Seb Happel, Ed Appleton and James Greenwood, expertly coxed by Orla Linforth, rowed to a comfortable win despite catching a crab at the start.

In Division Two, the WJ13 2x of Naomi Sime & Maria Ntoukaki had a steering problem on the tricky course, which caught many an athlete out on the day and they capsized. In Division Three, making their Women’s J13 single scull event debut, Orla Linforth and Erin Appleton put on a determined performance but lost out over the 500m course to powerful scullers from Evesham and Kings School Worcester.

Also, making their debut in the Open J13 single sculls were Rory Jones, Will Shaw, Euan Richter and Noah Rutter who had eventful heats, beating Worcester Rowing Club along the way. In the all Stratford final, Shaw beat Rutter by three lengths. Said Hugo Happel, J13 Coach, “The J13 glass pot winners were very grateful to Club President Paul Stanton for his kind and gracious words at the award ceremony. Athletes, parents and coach are immensely grateful to all the volunteers who made the day a huge success.”

Saturday’s Junior Sprint Regatta was the 500m course following the Avon through the town from Holy Trinity Church through to the finish line between the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, The Tramway Bridge and the Club’s grounds.

Stratford’s J14 squad were once again out in force to take on the visiting crews on their home water. First to go were the WJ14 single sculls of Tessa Parkin, Bryony Francis and Poppy Warren. Francis harried a confident Hereford sculler down the course in a thrilling race which resulted in a disqualification for Hereford as they strayed into Stratford’s racing lane. Next up Tessa Parkin raced hard against local rivals Evesham Rowing Club with Evesham taking the win by a length. Poppy Warren delivered the performance of her rowing career to seize a win in the semi-final against her squad mate and then produced a nail biting row in the final to beat her opposition by half a length only to be disqualified after straying from her competitor’s racing lane.

In the WJ14 double sculls event, Stratford’s Becca Smith and Isla Dunn sculled confidently but were overcome by Evesham in the semi-final. On the other side of the draw, it was a different story as Josephine Cooper and Martha Baines took an easy win in their semi-final and went on to collect victory in the final with a gutsy row.

In the WJ14 coxed quadruple sculls event, the Stratford crew of Sophie Franklin, Millie Smith, Maeve Dunn, Martha Cook and Bryony Francis (coxswain) put forward a strong campaign with easy wins in the early rounds. A similarly commanding performance saw them take the win in the final against Evesham.

Saturday provided the opportunity for the J16 squad to take on local clubs and schools at Stratford Junior Sprint Regatta. First down the course was the J16 single of Will Dalrymple Baker who gained a spot in the final after winning his heats and semi finals. He was followed by Jamie Wilcock who faced tough competition from Evesham and narrowly missed out on a place in the final . Dalrymple-Baker had a fast start in the final but despite an exciting and close race, he too lost out to Evesham by just a foot.

Next down were the WJ16 single sculls. Nancy Davis rowed a tidy race and gained on her competition as she rounded the ferry bend but it wasn’t enough to win the heat. Eloise Cooper in the Band 2 final put in an excellent display of sculling and easily beat her competition, earning a well deserved and long overdue winners pot.

After a later start than expected, the first WJ16 2x of Lucy Sartain and Megan Rowan won their quarter final and steered a good course in the semi final, losing out on a place in the final by a small margin. The second double of Jess Long and Harriet Froome faced stiff competition from Evesham in their semi final who were just too strong for the Stratford girls, securing the remaining final place.

Charles Happel and Toby Sartain were the sole representatives of the J17/18 squad at this years home regatta. In the morning they raced together in the J18 doubles event, and after a convincing win in the semi-final they then took on a strong crew from Evesham in the final. Despite a fast start and a strong row, they fell just short, with the difference being only one boat length at the finish line. Happel then took on the course again in the afternoon, racing a straight final in the J18 singles event. Facing strong competition again, this time from Hereford Rowing Club, he sculled superbly and took home the win, rounding out an enjoyable day for the squad.

Henley Women’s Regatta which is one of the most prestigious events of the year run over the famous Henley course two weeks before Henley Royal and attracting crews from all over the UK and many from abroad the competition is of the highest caliber, saw Stratford upon Avon Boat Club J17 squad entered with Uche Nwachukwa, Maddy Hall, Harriet Noyes, Kate Richardson and cox Imogen Hill in the Groton School Challenge Cup for Junior Coxed Fours. The crew made a good start in their time trial qualifying in the top sixteen crews to progress to the knock out stage of the competition.

Sitting at the start of your first side by side race on the narrow Henley course as a junior rower is a thrilling moment but unfortunately the our girls were drawn against hot favourites Saint Edward’s School Oxford who had won The National Schools’ Regatta in May. Stratford went out hard and hung on to Teddies through the first third of the race but by the half way point, Teddies had established clear water between the two crews which despite Stratford’s best efforts, Saint Edwards maintained to the finish.

Commenting, J17 Coach Sam Hill said, “The girls put in a superb performance in a fast heat. They are still a young crew and will have gained a lot from the experience: I have no doubt they will progress further next year.”

On Friday the J16 Quad of Ez Elfwood (Stroke), ‘V’ Vondrak, Scarlett Richardson and Aimee Appleton (Bow) knocked out a couple of GCSE exams before also making the journey to Henley Women’s Regatta to compete in the time trial for the hotly contested Nina Padwick Trophy. First down the 1400m course in a field of twenty three of the best crews in the country, the girls kept their composure and didn’t let the occasion put them off their stride. With only the top eight finishers proceeding to the knock out stages, it was always going to be a big ask and in the end they finished a very respectful sixteenth place having enjoyed their first Henley Women’s experience.

Saturday’s busy regatta will be followed by the Club’s Fun Regatta on Saturday 08 July where the Club give crews from local companies, clubs and organisations three hours training, a boat and an experienced cox.

Paul Stanton, Stratford Boat Club’s President said, “We were blessed with good weather for the regatta and there were 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! Again, we appreciate the tolerance and help from the other river users and colleagues.”

For media coverage, see Stratford Herald centre spread pages twenty four and twenty five and Stratford Observer  https://www.stratfordobserver.co.uk/sport/rowing-stratford-host-successful-summer-regatta

For pictures of Stratford upon Avon Boat Club Junior Sprint Regatta 2023, see Kathy and Stuart Baines’ great selection https://1drv.ms/f/s!AiW2DAyn9tg9j64qw-k_D7Glyp4TvQ?e=mfYPA8

WheelPower Comes To Stratford!

This week was another first for Stratford upon Avon Boat Club and the adaptive section when the Club hosted the first ever WheelPower event to encourage wheelchair users and others into rowing as a sport. 

WheelPower have been providing opportunities for people with physical impairments to take part in sport for nearly seventy years. Based in Stoke Mandeville, the home of the Paralympic movement, WheelPower is at the heart of wheelchair sport. From first-timers to Paralympic medallists, WheelPower support and promote participation at all levels. They have seen how playing sport can enrich lives, offering tremendous physical and psychological benefits, whatever age or ability.

Moving Forward Together, WheelPower’s new strategy which covers the period 2022-2027, will drive everything WheelPower do and provide more opportunities for more disabled people to move more, play sport and lead active lives.

While sport can develop confidence and improve health, it is also a great way to put a smile on the faces of those taking part. Each year, WheelPower supports over 62,099 disabled people to access and participate in sport and activity across the country.

Adaptive/Para-Rowing is a sport open to all. Rowing can be indoors or on the water, just for fun or to compete in competitions. Rowing is a great way to meet new people, get fit and stay healthy, learn new skills and to have fun. Adaptive Rowing is about removing barriers to participation for anyone who has a physical disability, sensory or learning impairment.

Indoor rowing machines can be adapted so that anyone can use them. Adaptations include fixed seats, hand grips and wheelchair frames for those that cannot transfer immediately to the indoor rower. Indoor rowing is a full body workout making it the perfect workout at the gym or in the home.

On the water, rowing is accessible for people who have the use of their upper body and can transfer into the boat. Boats can be specially adapted to have sliding or fixed seats, with the additional support of floats if required. Rowing on the water offers a sense of freedom and a different perspective, while helping people to get fit and is supported by British Rowing, the sport’s governing body.

Commenting, Mark Dewdney, Stratford Boat Club’s Head Adaptive Coach said, “The WheelPower event was a great success and we were so pleased that the Club’s adaptive section was able to host this first every national event to encourage disabled people into the sport of rowing. A big thanks to WheelPower!”

Paul Stanton, Stratford upon Avon Boat Club’s President commented further, “We were also honoured to have Stratford upon Avon Deputy Mayor, Councillor Jason Fojtik attend the event. The interest, support and encouragement that Jason and Stratford upon Avon Town Council give to sport in the Stratford and wider area is essential for community cohesion and wellbeing.”

For media coverage, please see Stratford Herald page forty four and Stratford Observer https://www.stratfordobserver.co.uk/sport/rowing-boat-club-hosts-first-ever-wheelpower-event and British Rowing https://www.britishrowing.org/2023/06/wheelpower-comes-to-stratford-upon-avon-bc

A First for Stratford’s Adaptives: A First for British Rowing

Last weekend was the final and second two day weekend coaches’ course for para and able bodied athletes: a first for British Rowing and also a first for Stratford upon Avon Boat Club’s adaptive section!

Stratford Boat Club’s adaptive section has recently been held up as an exemplar for para rowing in the United Kingdom: this has only been possible with the support of local Stratford and Warwickshire companies and regional and national organisations. The course is run by British Rowing’s Dr Perse Wynn, L3 Senior Club and L2 Strength and Conditioning Coach and Marcus Walker, Level 2 and L3 Course Coach: the extensive four day course covered topics such as risk management; warming up and cooling down exercises; understanding the assessment process, coaching behaviours, the code of conduct, responsibility, safety requirements; cold water immersion and hypothermia; developing athleticism and the practical application of boat adjustments

On the course were Sofia Ward, Jake Blatcher, Gillian Middleton and Kelly Donald, all members of Stratford Boat Club’s adaptive squad and Imogen North who is trainee coach with Stratford juniors’ J15 squad

Also on the course was Rachel Morris from Guildford Rowing Club: Rachel has enjoyed a successful career as a hand-cyclist, winning time trial gold at Beijing 2008 and a bronze medal in the road race at London 2012. Seeking a new challenge, Rachel transferred to rowing in 2013 and won an outstanding gold medal in the PR1 (arms and shoulders only) women’s single scull boat at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. Shoulder surgery following the Rio Games sadly curtailed Morris’s rowing career and she left the squad in 2017 and now rows and coaches at Guildford in Surrey.

Commenting, Mark Dewdney, Stratford Boat Club’s Head Adaptive Coach said, “To have the British Rowing (BR) coaches’ course at Stratford is a major benefit and shows BR’s commitment to Stratford’s adaptive squad and para rowing in the UK. The emphasis of the course is to teach the participants how to be a coach first and then how to adapt their new skills to para rowing”

Commenting further, Paul Stanton, Stratford Boat Club’s President said, “Mark’s commitment to the Stratford’s adaptive squad and para rowing in general is an example of dedication producing results. We are also most grateful to Crowne Plaza Stratford for providing Rachel’s accommodation which has enabled her to join the course”

For media coverage, see Stratford Herald page fifty three; Stratford Observer online https://www.stratfordobserver.co.uk/sport/rowing-stratfords-adaptives-and-british-rowing-achieve-first-with-para-coaching-course and back sports page https://www.stratfordobserver.co.uk/editions/view/?/Stratford/2023/04/21&pages=032 and British Rowing https://www.britishrowing.org/2023/04/adaptive-rowers-go-on-coaching-course

Stratford Boat Club Member Receives Bravery Award

Paul Beardmore presented with Royal Humane Society bravery award by Paul Stanton Stratford Boat Club President

Thursday was a proud day for Stratford upon Avon Boat Club when one of the Club’s members, Paul Beardmore, was presented with his bravery award from The Royal Humane Society for his heroic actions in saving one of the Club’s adaptive athletes from her submerged car in the river back in November 2022 which was reported extensively by the media at the time, see https://www.stratford-herald.com/news/car-recovered-from-river-avon-in-stratford-after-drivers-wa-9283213, https://www.stratford-herald.com/news/police-on-scene-after-car-ends-up-in-river-avon-in-stratford-9283167, https://www.stratford-herald.com/news/i-was-lucky-says-driver-who-crashed-into-river-avon-in-st-9283499,  https://www.stratfordobserver.co.uk/news/driver-whose-car-plunged-into-the-river-avon-in-stratford-survives-to-tell-her-story and https://www.stratfordobserver.co.uk/news/driver-whose-car-plunged-into-the-river-avon-in-stratford-survives-to-tell-her-story

Paul Beardmore on safety duty on the River Avon with adaptive athlete Rob Pedley MBE

The award was presented to Paul Beardmore by Paul Stanton, Stratford upon Avon Boat Club’s President acting on behalf of HRH Princess Alexandra, the Honourable Lady Ogilvy who is President of the Royal Humane Society

Mark Dewdney, Stratford Boat Club’s Head Adaptive Coach, congratulates Paul Beardmore on his bravery award

Commenting, Paul Stanton said, “Stratford Boat Club is immensely proud of Paul Beardmore and his selfless act of bravery and quick action which undoubtedly saved the life of a fellow member of the adaptive squad. Paul Beardmore is a self-effacing modest person but the Club could not let the presentation pass without honouring Paul. It was especially pleasing that not only fellow members of the adaptive squad were present but also many members of Stratford’s junior squad and coaches who had just concluded their four day Easter Junior Sculling Camp”

For media coverage, please see Stratford Herald page three and online https://www.stratford-herald.com/news/bravery-award-for-reluctant-hero-who-rescued-driver-from-riv-9308339; Stratford Observer online https://www.stratfordobserver.co.uk/news/stratford-rower-receives-bravery-award-for-rescuing-a-disabled-driver-from-the-river-avon-44204 and page five https://www.stratfordobserver.co.uk/editions/view/?/Stratford/2023/04/14&pages=032 and British Rowing online https://www.britishrowing.org/2023/04/stratford-upon-avon-bc-member-receives-bravery-award

2022 President’s Sculls Trophies Awarded!

… and finally! Stratford upon Avon Boat Club finally awarded The President’s Sculls 2022 trophies for the best sculler in the men’s and adaptive category this last month, The race off for the award for the best sculler in the Club’s junior squad is still to be completed

The original trophy was initially presented by Ian Cartwright, the then Captain, to Derek Eardley in 2004 during his tenure as President of Stratford Boat Club to mark his many years of service to the Club and was to be raced for annually in coxed fours

Over the years, the competition faded from the annual calendar and was reinstated comparatively recently as an annual sculling competition in four categories – women, men, juniors and adaptive

Paul Stanton, Stratford upon Avon Boat Club President commented, “We hope that the President’s Sculls award will inspire all members to continue with sculling at a high level and further contribute to all sections of the Club mixing and communicating with each other”

The award for the men’s trophy went to Jake Blatcher who dominated the men’s races and was awarded by Dr Persephone Wynn, Programme Manager for the Level 3 Senior Club Coaching Award and Level 2 Strength & Conditioning programme at British Rowing. The awards for the adaptive squad went to Gillian Middleton and Rona Fitzpatrick for the best pair; Rob Pedley for the most improved sculler in a single and to Isaac Courtland for the most promising sculler in a single

For media coverage, see Stratford Herald page forty three and Stratford Observer online https://www.stratfordobserver.co.uk/sport/rowing-boat-club-awards-presidents-sculls-trophies

Onwards to 2023!

It was a bright, sunny morning, and Stratford upon Avon Boat Club were out in force with twelve athletes competing in freshly assembled crews for the annual Boxing Day Regatta. First up was Team A: Martha Usselmann, Matt Meynell, Heather Hayton, Elisabeth Edwards and cox Cameron Dalrymple-Baker vs Team B: Jack Arrowsmith, Will Dalrymple-Baker, Jackie Josbury, Amanda Bowden and cox Katie Phillips. All crews raced twice, switching their lane after the first race. A quick start saw Team A draw ahead but Team B held their own, keeping level with Team A until the final few lengths of the race where Team A pulled away to take the first win of the day. Both teams had a quick turn around and were soon back up at the start, ready to go again. Another quick start from Team A saw them claim victory once more, with Team B battling with them to the end.

Both crews were pulled in and Team A swapped out with Team C: Katie Phillips, Ruby Howells, Cameron Dalrymple-Baker, Dave Edwards, and cox Elisabeth Edwards. Team B stayed on, swapping their cox for Martha Usselmann. Crews paddled up to the start and moved off with a strong start but the slightly fresher Team C gradually pulled away from Team B to take the lead, crossing the line just ahead of Team B. Both crews turned and headed back up on opposite sides. Once again both crews had a strong start, with Team C pulling away initially but Team B keeping the pressure on them. Team C crossed the line first but their aggressive racing line caused Team B to move close to the bank to avoid contact which led to the race being considered a draw.

Finally Team A swapped in with Team B, with both crews changing their coxes to Amanda Bowden (A) and Will Dalrymple-Baker (C). Both crews headed up to the start line for the final two races of the morning. Once more, quick starts from both crews were seen and they kept level with each other for the first half of the race. A burst of pressure from Team A as the crews passed the theatre saw them move away from Team C in the final stages of the race and take victory. Both crews took a leisurely paddle back up to the start in an attempt to catch their breath and lined up once more. Both crews were quick off the mark and kept level, with Team C starting to move ahead as the crews reached the halfway mark, however a well timed call from Team A’s cox saw the boat gain speed and move away from Team C just as the crews crossed the finish line.

With four wins across the morning, Team A were declared the victors and were each awarded a Stratford Boat Club tankard. Tankards were also awarded to all who coxed, as well as one being awarded to the brilliant finish marshal, who helped signal the end of each race.

Commenting, Paul Stanton, the Club’s President said, “Many thanks go to Trevor Tiller, Zöe Edwards, Helen Smith and Ian Wilcock for marshalling and to Dave Edwards for organising the event.”

For media coverage, see Stratford Herald pages forty and thirty eight.

For more great pictures of the Boxing Day Scratch Regatta, see David Phillips’ excellent selection https://1drv.ms/u/s!AiBE8NqoVVypgg6L22bLS2AnUG6E?e=3kjYqr