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

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

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

We Will Remember Them

The weekend has been 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, other conflicts and especially the Falklands War, now forty years ago

Stratford Boat Club’s remembrance started on Friday with a short wreath laying and two minutes silence to mark Armistice Day: Masters’ member Graham Cann laid wreaths commemorating Falklands veterans and especially his fallen colleagues in the Royal Marines. Graham was a Colour Sergeant in the Royal Marines Commandos during the Falklands War: the Club’s piper Joe Moore played before and after the two minutes silence

Joining Graham and his Boat Club colleagues was Kim Casey, sister of Petty Officer Aircrewman Ben Casey who was the first casualty of the Falklands War. Stratford Boat Club became aware of Ben thanks to Stratford Herald’s articles on Kim’s pilgrimage to the Falklands to honour her elder brother (https://www.stratford-herald.com/news/falklands-cove-named-after-fallen-brother-9282072 and https://www.stratford-herald.com/news/stratford-womans-search-for-peace-after-losing-brother-in-t-9264080)

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, Seb Happel, to remember Club members who gave their lives in wars and conflicts. Seventy six years separate Colin’s and Seb’s rowing and life experience! Again, the Club’s piper, Simon Moore, played during the act of remembrance

A memorable addition to this year’s Remembrance Day event was the dedication of a plaque commemorating the award of the Victoria Cross to one of the Club’s members, Squadron Leader Arthur ‘Pongo’ Scarf. Again, the interest in this Club member’s past was generated by Stratford Herald’s article on the sale of Arthur’s Victoria Cross (https://www.stratford-herald.com/news/arthur-scarf-from-stratford-nfu-to-heroic-raf-pilot-awarde-9253188) and Mark Dewdney’s, the Club’s archivist and Head Adaptive Coach, research in to Pongo’s past. Through an introduction by Spink & Son, the auction house which sold Arthur Scarf’s Victoria Cross, the Club was able to trace Pongo’s remaining relative, nephew John Hair, who laid a wreath to dedicate the new memorial plaque and honour Arthur’s bravery

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. Both Graham Cann’s and Arthur Scarf Scarf’s acts of service and bravery are an example to us all and an ever present reminder of the horrors of war”

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

Stratford Boat Club Regatta: Covid Comeback!

The weather could have been better but great participation from crews local and further afield from Evesham Rowing Club, Worcester Rowing Club, AB Severn Rowing Club (Tewkesbury), Cheltenham College, Dragon School Boat Club, King Edward The Sixth Boat Club, King’s School Worcester Boat Club, Magdalen College School Boat Club, Nottingham and Union Rowing Club, Ross Rowing Club and Worcester Royal Grammar School as well as major entries from Stratford upon Avon Boat Club. The regatta this year had three divisions and one hundred and sixty three separate races starting at 08.30 and running all day through until a close at 17.45hrs!

Dan Warren, Stratford Boat Club’s Regatta Secretary said, “This year we were 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. We were especially honoured to have Stratford upon Avon Town Council Mayor Gill Cleeve attend our regatta.”

Colin Davies, Regatta Water Team Lead 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 500 metre sprint course to ensure the safety of all the competitors and river users: 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.”

Commenting on the J13’s squad’s successes at the regatta, Steve Wellstead J13 Coach and Junior Co-Ordinator said, “Our home regatta brought more high quality racing from Stratford’s J13 squad to the calm waters of the Avon.” First to take to the course was the coxed quadruple scull crew of Martha Cooke, Millie Francis, Sophie Franklin, Isla Dunn and Bryony Francis (coxswain). The girls made short work of the first round but then faced a quality crew from Nottingham & Union Rowing Club in the final. The quality of the Stratford crew shone to take the win by a solid three lengths and the first pots of the day. Next down the river was the double sculls event where Cara Berisford-Murray and Poppy Warren dispatched Evesham to face another Stratford crew of Tessa Parkin and Josephine Cooper. Great sculling from both crews wowed the Stratford crowd with Cara and Poppy the eventual winners.

In the single scull event, two J13 Stratford scullers took to the water. With a bye in the first round, Maeve Dunn had to wait whilst Bryony Francis raced. After a nail biting run down the course, Bryony was pipped to the post by just one length leaving Maeve to fly the Stratford flag. Maeve bravely faced a formidable sculler from AB Severn and made the AB athlete work hard for all of the 500m with the final margin being four lengths to AB Severn.

For the J14s it was a chance to try out some new crew combinations, starting with Alice Jones racing in the J14 single for the first time this year. After a strong start, both boats were neck and neck, with the sculler from Nottingham and Union inching away in the second half of the race to take the win by less than two lengths. Next up were the boys coxed quadruple scull crew of Theo Richter, Seth Vondrak, Xavier Sissins, Ollie Rowland and James Albrighton (cox). A powerful start put them well up on their opposition, however a boat malfunction soon after forced them to row a man down giving Magdalen College the upper hand to take the win.

Next up for the J14’s were the girls’ coxed quadruple scull of Meg Nutall, Sophie Evans, Lily Warren, Lucy Yang and Alexandra Francis (cox). In a nail biting race against a strong crew from Evesham, Stratford really showed their skill resulting in a photo finish where Evesham took the win by one foot. In the afternoon James Albrighton and Alexandra Francis took to the water in the open J14 double scull, winning their first two races against solid crews. In the final Stratford were fiercely holding off the Nottingham and Union crew until they caught a boat stopping crab where the opposition squeezed past them to take the win. In addition Sophie Evans generously stepped into a J14 double sculls on the day with a rower from Worcester, Roxie. With Sophie taking the bow seat, they comfortably won both two races to get them to the final. In the final, the Worcester/Stratford composite took the lead from the start and held it down the course to take the win.

The WJ15 1x event saw Aimee Appleton rowing a fantastic first race against her formidable Nottingham & Union opposition and beating her by three lengths with fine technique. Sadly, Lucy Sartain lost her first race against the eventual winner from AB Severn and Eloise Cooper had a capsize shortly after the start.

In the WJ15 2x event, Jessica Long and Nancy Davis showed great technique over the sprint course but lost by three lengths to a very powerful AB Severn crew who would take the overall win later on. In the OJ15 2x event, Jamie Wilcock and Will Dalrymple-Baker were drawn against their nemesis from Evesham Rowing Club. They rowed well and came half a length short.

Following this, the WJ15 4x+ semi-final event saw Scarlett Richardson, Molly Vondrak, Megan Rowan and Esmerelda Elfwood, coxed by Lucy Sartain having a poor start followed by catching a bad crab from which they recovered well and then showed grit and determination but ended up losing by two lengths to the winning finalists from AB Severn.

Stratford’s J16 competition started with Charles Happel  competing against a single sculler from Magdalen College: Charles sculled energetically with stroke precision to cruise home with a four length advantage. His next race proved to be more of a challenge against another sculler from Magdalen. Charles sculled a valiant race but lost out by two lengths. In the afternoon it was the turn of the WJ16 double crew of Grace Beason and Charlotte Isbel who, after a lengthy delay, rowed against a very experienced Evesham doubles crew in their doubles finals race having benefitted from a bye to the final: success eluded Stratford this time despite a spirited and technically good performance losing just by four lengths.

The day started early for the J17/18 squad with Will Beattie and Tomi Wilcock competing in the Open J18 doubles event, one of the first races to set off. They beat crews from Magdalen College and Worcester Rowing Club comfortably in the heats and finished two lengths ahead of the anticipated King Edward The Sixth Boat Club crew in the final to bring home the win. Bella Chappelhow and Honour Keil raced in the Women’s J18 doubles just missing out on the final in their heat against Worcester Grammar School, a crew that went on to win the event. The story was the same for the other girls double of Fleur Griffiths and Harriet Holmes who, despite steering an expert line, also finished just short of the final. The girls’ quad of Freya Watts, Ruby Howells, Amelie Sartain and Lucy Browne raced a straight final against Worcester Grammar School in the Women’s J18 coxless quads event, rowing to a mid-afternoon victory. The final effort of the day came from Toby Sartain in the Open J18 singles event where his competitor’s dubious steering contributed to him just missing out on the final. Alongside racing, J17/18 squad each helped the umpires in their role throughout the day where their assistance was much appreciated.

Meanwhile away at Henley Women’s Regatta, Stratford’s WJ16 four of Amalia Richardson, Maddie Hall, Harriet Noyes, Kate Richardson and coxswain Imogen Hill entered The West End Cup. Stratford rowed with great skill to finished ninth out of twenty crews in the time trial just missing the top eight to progress to the knockout stage of the regatta. J16 coach Sam Hill said, “Henley Women’s Regatta attracts the best crews from clubs and schools across the UK, so to finish in the top half of the time trial is an excellent result!”

Also on the river at Henley Women’s Regatta were some of Stratford Boat Club’s alumna – Talei Dunn and Hermione Hill (Durham), Molly Gill-Swift (Exeter) and Katie Wellstead (Oxford) competing for their respective universities.

Saturday’s busy regatta will be followed by the Club’s Fun Regatta on Saturday 09 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, “Although we weren’t blessed with good weather for the regatta, there were still 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! The support of our sponsors is much appreciated especially from our headline sponsor Stratford Self Store as is the tolerance and help from the other river users and colleagues.”

For media coverage, see Stratford Herald online https://www.stratford-herald.com/sport/gallery-regatta-returns-with-a-bang-despite-the-rain-9260166 and Stratford Observer https://www.stratfordobserver.co.uk/sport/rowing-stratford-upon-avon-boat-clubs-junior-sprint-regatta-round-up and https://www.stratfordobserver.co.uk/sport/rowing-stratford-upon-avon-boat-club-host-successful-junior-sprint-regatta: also see Stratford Observer back sports page https://www.stratfordobserver.co.uk/editions/view/?/Stratford/2022/06/24&pages=024

For The Herald’s pictures of the regatta, see https://www.stratford-herald.com/_media/img/749×0/XFZHHK000DN7B5TQNQB1.jpg

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

Stratford Boat Club Works with Local Sponsor

Christmas came early for Stratford upon Avon Boat Club last Thursday when local company NLA VW Parts, based in nearby Clifford Chambers, took on the sponsorship of the Club’s training and safety launch Patience

NLA VW Parts is an UK based company with the facility and capacity of designing, modifying and innovating those no longer available Volkswagen parts. Established in 2008 and having run for over thirteen years, founders Adam and Teresa are passionate VW collectors who own T2 splits screens, T2 Bay-windows and T25s Beetles. Their dream is to remanufacture all the unavailable VW parts to allow vehicles to stay on the road forever, with new designs if required, and with the best use of materials

As the parts are made by themselves, the high quality control and level of service is second to none. Said Adam Yang, Managing Director and Co-owner of NLA VW Parts, “We are very proud of our products and service and know that they are the best available to the market as we faithfully reproduce them and test and fit them on our own VWs before we offer them for sale to our customers!”

Commenting, Paul Stanton, Stratford Boat Club’s President, said, “We welcome the chance to be working closely with local Warwickshire companies and organisations and NLA VW Parts’ generous sponsorship of our training and safety launch will ensure that Patience’s fuel and maintenance will be secured for the future. NLA VW Parts and their sister company Cool Out Ltd are putting back into the local community we all work and live in and their sponsorship makes our sport more accessible and safer”

For media coverage, see Stratford Herald page forty five and online https://www.stratford-herald.com/sport/sponsorship-boost-for-boat-club-9231837 and Stratford Observer online https://www.stratfordobserver.co.uk/sport/stratford-upon-avon-boat-club-secures-local-sponsorship

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

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