New boats launched at Camrowers RC
A Cambridge over-50s rowing club has been described as a ‘pioneering project – offering a completely different take on using the River Cam’. Speaking at the 5th April launch of eight new boats acquired by the Camrowers recreational rowing club, Annamarie Phelps, Deputy Chairman of the Amateur Rowing Association emphasised the health benefits of regular rowing. Phelps, a former GB Rowing International oarswoman, learnt to row on the River Cam.
City Mayor Mike Dixon also congratulated the club for providing rowing facilities for senior citizens wishing to enjoy rowing on a non-competitive basis. He recalled that the club’s roots lay in the City’s initiative in setting up the Start-Up and Forever Active programmes. Councillor Julie Smith, executive member for arts and recreation, naming one of the boats ‘Forever Active’, observed that the waiting list was evidence of the club’s success.
Rowing sessions at Camrowers take place twice a week. Referrals from GPs include members with heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and weight problems. There are also members suffering from deafness and a single unsighted sculler coxed by Camsight volunteers. Members are also recruited through the University of the Third Age.
The largest boat to be named – a quad (or 4-person) coxed sculling boat was named by Jean Perraton, Chair of the Cam Valley Forum. This conservation group helps to preserve and improve the river – a task which crews from Camrowers have assisted in recent years. The Forum contributed to the purchase of the new boat which will be used in this years clean-up on 25 April.
Funding for the balance of the boat fleet was made available from the Amateur Rowing Association’s Community Club Development Programme funding, which was managed by Sport England.
Camrowers’ Chair, Peter Carolin, thanked St John’s College for allowing the club to use its boathouse. However, he stressed that Camrowers urgently needs boat storage accommodation of its own. "Rowing is a growing sport but it will never reach its potential in Cambridge until the huge pent-up demand from local residents for club membership and boat storage can be satisfied. Cambridge is a cycling city but it is also potentially a rowing city."