Whitlingham offers new opportunities for rowers

Canoeists and rowers at Whitlingham

The Whitlingham Boathouses facility is a major step forward for sport and leisure for the whole community in Norfolk. Involving Norwich Rowing Club, Norwich Canoe Club, the University of East Anglia Boat Club, Norwich School Boat Club and Norwich High School Rowing Club, the facility sets the highest standards for elite and novice canoeists and rowers.

‘The Opening of Phase 1 of the new Whitlingham Boathouses’ said Max Heron, Chairman of the new facility, ‘offers a fantastic opportunity for men and women from eight to eighty years to enjoy watersports in their local community. The clubs involved have champions and internationals as well as people who have just learnt to row or canoe on one of our courses. Whether able-bodied or disabled, we are really pleased to see so many men and women enjoying the river.’ 

“What a great legacy everyone is creating here.” added Di Ellis CBE, Chairman of British Rowing, “it is a fantastic facility and will encourage people of all ages and ability to try rowing.”

All the clubs in the Whitlingham Boathouses project have recently scored a number of major successes. With a combined total of nearly 400 members, these include Norwich Canoe Club winning the prestigious Hasler Trophy for the second time (making them one of the top five clubs in the UK) with seven members representing GB at both senior and junior levels. Tim Pendle is trying to achieve a place in the 2012 Olympic squad and Albert Hicks recently won the Gold medal at the Junior Canoe Marathon World Cup in Rome.

Norwich Rowing Club won three gold and two silver medals at the recent National Masters Championships and the Club’s Junior Quadruple scull (all coming from different non-rowing schools as part of the club’s outreach programme) won their event at the National Schools Regatta and competed at Henley Royal Regatta. Two of this four are competing for GB Junior squad places and two Junior women just missed the GB cut. UEA Boat Club numbers have increased considerably with both men’s and women’s crews recently racing at Henley.  Norwich School Boat Club had  success with a win at the National Schools and a crew racing at Henley and numbers are fast increasing at Norwich High School Rowing Club too.  The clubs have also been working with schools, charities and other local organisations to open up opportunities for everyone to try rowing and canoeing.

The official opening was carried out by the Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk, Richard Jewson JP, and Rosemary Napp, National Manager British Rowing, with Max Heron, Chairman of Whitlingham Boathouses in attendance at 18.00hrs on Wednesday 6th July.

Rosemary Napp, British Rowing, opens facility

The opening of Whitlingham Boathouses is a fantastic project and a significant step forward for the whole community in Norfolk. It will give people all over Norwich and Norfolk the opportunity to take part in rowing and canoeing and have great fun on the water.

In April 2010, Whitlingham Boathouses launched an appeal to raise money to open new boathouses for rowing and canoeing in Norwich. Since the launch the clubs involved have raised over £750,000 and have finished Phase 1 – the completion of the structure and fitting out of the ground floor of the new boathouses.  The principal funders have included £200,000 from British Rowing, their largest single grant in 2010, as well as local charities and the clubs themselves.