Safety First: No Compromise!

After many months of delay due to inclement weather conditions, Stratford upon Avon Boat Club has finally commissioned a cohort of five ‘new’ launch drivers to their safety rota

All launch drivers at Stratford Boat Club are RYA qualified and as well as having extensive familiarisation on the Boat Club’s three safety launches, all new drivers have been on and passed the Royal Yachting Association’s Inland Waterways Helmsman course at Bisham Abbey which includes safety, helmsmanship, collision avoidance, engine checks, mooring, man overboard, rescue and enables them river to helm a vessel safely

Said Ian Wilcock, Stratford Boat Club’s Water Safety Advisor, “Stratford Boat Club takes water safety and the safety of its members and all river users very seriously. The Club’s launches are used daily for assisting with training upstream and safety on the Avon and having a pool of trained and qualified drivers is essential to maintain these rigorous standards. As well as weekend safety cover, the launches are out during the week with school outreach and essential cover for the Club’s ever expanding adaptive and weekday rowers’ squads as well as the Club’s two regattas and other events on the Avon”

Commenting further, Paul Stanton, Stratford upon Avon Boat Club’s President, said, “Putting our launch drivers through the RYA’s Inland Waterways Helmsman course is a considerable undertaking not only for the Club but also for the volunteers who give freely of their time gaining experience, going on the course and covering the launch safety rota slots. As the winter weather hopefully begins to ease, their input is especially needed and essential as summer rowing activity increases: we cannot thank them enough for their volunteering and time given!”

(Chris Dunn also passed but no shown in picture)

For media coverage, please see Stratford Herald page thirty nine and Stratford Observer online  https://stratfordobserver.co.uk/sport/rowing-stratford-boat-club-commission-five-new-launch-drivers-to-safety-rota

Stratford’s Dewdney Awarded British Rowing’s Medal of Merit!

In his award citation, Alastair Marks, Chief Executive of British Rowing stated, “Mark also received multiple nominations from across his region for the work that he has done to raise the profile of adaptive rowing.

He coaches a substantial number of adaptive rowers at his own club at Stratford upon Avon and oversees a large group of volunteers, but his contribution to adaptive rowing has been much wider than that, with a major impact on a national level.

Mark has helped to develop the recent national strategy for adaptive rowing and has enabled coaches of adaptive rowers across the country to share ideas and good practice on adaptive rowing.

As Chair of the British Rowing Club Adaptive Group, which Mark helped to establish, he is in constant conversation with rowing and disability focussed organisations and gives up significant amounts of his time to assist other rowing clubs and competitions across the country in planning adaptive categories, providing guidance to safety considerations and logistical planning.

At international level, Mark has organised for Clubs in the UK to attend Para competitions in Italy and has met with international Para coaches to share ideas.”

Commenting further, Paul Stanton, Stratford upon Avon Boat Club’s President said, “The whole Club is very proud of Mark and his achievements and especially the recognition from British Rowing, the sport’s governing body: Mark’s dedication to the sport and the hours of dedication mirror the efforts of all Stratford upon Avon Boat Club’s coaches, launch drivers, committee members, supporters and volunteers. We are so grateful to all of them!”

 

For media coverage, see British Rowing news https://www.britishrowing.org/2024/01/2023-british-rowing-awards-winners-announced; Stratford Herald page forty five and online https://www.stratford-herald.com/sport/rowing-coach-presented-with-top-award-9351047 and Stratford Observer online https://stratfordobserver.co.uk/sport/rowing-stratford-boat-clubs-dewdney-awarded-british-rowings-medal-of-merit and back sports page https://stratfordobserver.co.uk/editions/view/?/Stratford/2024/02/02&pages=24

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


 

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

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

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

Safety First: No Compromise!

After many months of delay due to Covid and other distractions, Stratford upon Avon Boat Club has finally commissioned a cohort of ten ‘new’ launch drivers to their safety rota

All launch drivers at Stratford Boat Club are RYA qualified and as well as having extensive familiarisation on the Boat Club’s four safety launches, all new drivers have been on and passed the Royal Yachting Association’s Inland Waterways Helmsman course which includes safety, helmsmanship, collision avoidance, engine checks, mooring, man overboard, rescue and enables the driver to helm a vessel safely

Said Ian Wilcock, Stratford Boat Club’s Water Advisor, “Stratford Boat Club takes water safety and the safety of its members and all river users very seriously. The Club’s launches are used daily for assisting with training upstream and safety on the Avon and having a pool of trained and qualified drivers is essential to maintain these rigorous standards. As well as weekend safety cover, the launches are out during the week with school outreach and essential cover for the Club’s ever expanding adaptive and weekday rowers’ squads as well as the Club’s two regattas and other events on the Avon”

Commenting further, Paul Stanton, Stratford upon Avon Boat Club’s President, said, “Putting our launch drivers through the RYA’s Inland Waterways Helmsman course is a considerable undertaking not only for the Club but also for the volunteers who give freely of their time gaining experience, going on the course and covering the launch safety rota slots. As the winter weather begins to set it, their input is especially needed and essential: we cannot thank them enough for their volunteering and time given”

For media coverage, see British Rowing online https://www.britishrowing.org/2022/10/safety-first-at-stratford-upon-avon-bc and also Stratford Observer online https://www.stratfordobserver.co.uk/sport/rowing-safety-first-at-stratford-upon-avon-boat-club

(Note: there will be another launch volunteers’ course in March)

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’s Dewdney Gets Life!

Not only does Stratford upon Avon Boat Club think that Mark Dewdney, Head Adaptive Coach, is ‘the bees’ knees’ but this was confirmed by British Rowing, the sport’s governing body, when they awarded Mark with the West Midlands area Lifetime Achievement Award!

This year, British Rowing had a huge number of nominations for the awards from right across the country and so it’s been a tough job for British Rowing’s judging panels to narrow them all down to this year’s shortlist. British Rowing took time out to thank everyone who made a nomination and congratulations to the volunteers, coaches, clubs, crews and other rowers who have been selected for this year’s shortlist.

Mark’s West Midland’s ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ will also go forward for consideration for British Rowing’s national award, selected from British Rowing’s shortlist, and this will be announced in a live webcast on 20 January alongside the winners of British Rowing’s Medal of Honour, Medal of Merit, Beryl Crockford Award and National Safety Award. All winners will be visited by a British Rowing official at their club to receive their award in person, following the webcast.

Commenting, Paul Stanton, Stratford upon Avon Boat Club’s President said, “We are very proud of Mark and all that he has achieved not only for the ever increasing successful adaptive section but for Stratford Boat Club as a collegiate whole. Mark’s considerable success in raising funds for the adaptive squad has had a ‘trickle down’ effect for the whole Club making more equipment available for juniors, seniors, masters, weekday rowers, Learn to Row and Junior Summer camp participants as well as the adaptive section.”

Joe Moore, Senior Adaptive Coach, said,” Mark’s recent success of having Stratford Boat Club awarded ‘ParaSport Club of the Year’ has now been followed by British Rowing’s accolade: the Club’s hopes are high for Mark’s National Award!”

For an expanded article on Mark’s accolade, see Stratford Observer online https://www.stratfordobserver.co.uk/sport/stratford-upon-avon-boat-clubs-dewdney-receives-lifetime-achievement-award also page back sports page https://www.stratfordobserver.co.uk/editions/view/?/Stratford/2021/12/17&pages=024and Stratford Herald page fifty six and online https://www.stratford-herald.com/sport/dewdney-scoops-top-accolade-9229857