Mark Cooke – problem solver and fund-raiser

Mark Cooke of Nottingham Rowing Club was the East Midlands nomination for the Volunteer of the Year Award 2008.

Since taking over the Nottingham Boat Club, Mark has restructured the Committee and changed the shape of Trentside forever by proposing the merger of four rowing clubs. This took considerable time in persuading people to make a new beginning and create a club that can offer everything from recreational rowing to Olympic pathway.

As chief fund raiser Mark has gained sponsorship and donations which has allowed the club to spend over £140,000 on new equipment.  Mark helped set up the Rushcliffe Project, sourcing coaches and equipment to place ergos in 6 local schools to set up ergo clubs. Mark worked for 1 year with Sport England to set up the first ever initiative work place health scheme in the country, using ergos and recreational boats.

Mark has been instrumental in directing and overseeing the refurbishment of the old Nottingham Britannia Boathouse, with new male and female changing rooms, a new gym area and business venue upstairs with a total cost of £60,000.

As Coaching Commissioner – a role he has taken on for the last 3 years, he has organized a coaching road show with a grant from the awards for all. Mark personally negotiated involvement with BUSA (now BUCS) and led the team that picked up the BUSA Autumn & Spring heads, the latter being described as the best ever by participants and coaches.

Mark also sits on not only the Nottingham Rowing Club Committee, but also the Trent Head Committee and Nottingham City Committee, both popular events and well attended on the rowing circuit.

A quote from Nottingham Rowing Club’s President “An excellent volunteer, £200,000 in grants, support for schools, the local workforce, and rowing on Trentside-huge amounts of time-coaching, rowing, keeping people on side, problem solving – building – endless input”.