Volunteer Awards – winners’ citations

Volunteer Awards
Eastern Region

Overall Regional Winner
Louise Rivett, Milton Keynes Rowing Club

Over the last 12 months, Louise has led a team of volunteers to organise our record breaking channel row attempt. In partnership with a local charity (Milton Keynes Sports and Educational Trust), two crews of eight rowers, including four complete novices, successfully completed the row and the Ladies’ crew set a new record. 

In order to achieve this amazing feat, Louise spent a phenomenal amount of time and effort organising training days, numerous fundraising events and gruelling training schedules. Throughout the six months of preparation, her enthusiasm and dedication was instrumental in keeping everyone motivated, organised and on track for success. Indeed, Lou was so committed to the success of the row, that despite her seasickness, she went on the support boat to cheer on our crews and kept them motivated to the finish line!

In addition to this, Louise has worked tirelessly, leading a team of fundraisers to secure grants and funding for our club, enabling us to purchase essential new equipment to support our popular learn to row courses and allow us to recruit and retain new members. This has included the purchase of three new stable boats for our recreational and novice rowers, two new cox boxes, a new pontoon, new racking and a coaching launch. Without Lou’s efforts, and the new equipment, the rate of growth of the club would have been unsustainable and we would have had to turn away the hundreds of people in Milton Keynes wanting to learn to row.

Our channel row success would just not have been possible without Lou’s talent for keeping all the different people involved on board (literally at times!). She has worked with all our club members, the city mayor, our brave rowers, members of SET and the company that facilitated the row, bringing her patience, organisational skills, charisma and persistence to achieve what at the outset seemed like an impossible challenge. She somehow even managed to work her magic on the weather, conjuring up calm seas on Sunday morning after the row had been called off due to high winds the previous day!

I still cannot believe the positive impact the channel row has had on the whole club, not just those who completed it. The enthusiasm and vibe throughout the club through the training and since is palpable; Lou’s belief that the club could achieve great things is now shared by all. The training schedules that looked so daunting to start with have inspired our rowers to believe they can do more and we are seeing people using the ergos with confidence and our members’ fitness levels going from strength to strength. The training and belief as a direct result of the channel row has shone through in our performances on the water, with a crew including Lou recently winning gold at National Masters. Off the water, everyone is aiming a bit higher, with more charity challenges planned for later in the year involving our recreational members as well.

Alongside this, Lou’s fundraising successes have allowed this new-found belief and enthusiasm to be turned into reality for many new rowers. With the new equipment, we are rapidly working through our waiting list, allowing new members to discover the joys of rowing. Since Jan 2013 alone, we have had 33 people complete an eight week learn to row programme using our new equipment. Every week, we can count on Lou to stay down after her own training sessions, coaching and inspiring our new members or making bacon sandwiches for the team installing the new racking! Lou is a real asset to our club and the growth of the club over the last few years would not have been possible without her efforts.

Open Category Winner
Karen Wilson, Milton Keynes Rowing Club

Four years ago when Karen broke her leg she remained committed to being involved and helping the rowing club. Unable to row herself, she set up our first learn to row programme. Since then, she has continued to run and develop the programme and under her direction our courses have gone from strength to strength. Through Karen and her team of volunteers’ efforts, we have seen over 200 people come down and learn to row. This has included people of all ages and backgrounds, some of whom had never done any sport before and are now rowing regularly with our squads. 

Karen has given a huge amount of time and effort to the learn to row project and brought her teaching and organisation skills as well as her natural dedication and enthusiasm to inspire and support our new recruits and volunteers. From first contact with the club, she has stayed in touch with potential learn to row applicants, organised taster days and courses, coached these courses, organised and supported volunteers and continued to support and coach the new rowers as they joined our development squads. She has led development of better systems in the club to cope with the huge influx of interest after the Olympics.  The Club now has a streamlined email system and online waiting list to keep track of people who are interested. She has developed taster days so people can come and have a go at rowing. She has inspired and supported many of the club members, developing coaching skills to support the learn to row courses, some of whom had learned to row with her guidance only a year or two previously, and several of whom are now going on to complete coaching qualifications with British Rowing. The new rowers that have joined our club from Karen’s programme, have contributed immensely to the running and strength of the club in various ways including taking on committee roles, rowing the channel and winning a National Masters Gold less than 2 years after first getting in a boat! Through Karen’s efforts, the club has successfully become an Explore Rowing club, which has enabled us to continue to build on our success in allowing new members to enjoy rowing. Karen has done all of this on a day to day basis, from the minutiae of patiently organising crews and finding a working coxbox, to confidently taking overall charge of the learn to row programme.  Alongside all of this, Karen remains one of our most successful rowers – breaking the record for crossing the channel and winning a National Masters Gold in this season alone (in teams with some of the people she had taught to row)! Without her efforts, the club would not be where we are today – a rapidly growing successful club, looking forward to our next learn to row courses.

U18 Category Winner
Amy Bland, City of Cambridge Rowing Club

Amy has been involved in the Comberton Village College indoor rowing team, where she sets the training and helps to coach the rowers.  Amy takes her groups from complete beginners to competitors in the regional schools indoor rowing competition and the National Junior Indoor Rowing Championships, where she took care to mentor the new athletes through the process of racing.  

Amy joined City of Cambridge Rowing Club from her previous club last year.  Straight away, Amy started coaching the younger junior girls, balancing her own training and GCSE school work with volunteering to help the club every week.  At her previous club, Amy had helped to coach beginner adult rowers on learn to row courses over a number of years.

Amy’s contribution is not just through the hours she spends helping to introduce people to rowing, but the care and effort that she takes to do it so well.  Amy is thoughtful, enthusiastic and always takes time to spot potential problems – whether that is helping someone nervous about racing, fixing broken equipment, tidying up the club or helping others to boat.  

Amy is the kind of volunteer that every club should have and the level of her contributions far belie her years.

East Midlands Region

Overall Regional Winner (and nominated for the National Safety Award)
Stuart Ward, Loughborough Boat Club

Stuart is an active member of the national Rowing Safety Committee. He is also an active member of Loughborough Boat Club and acts as consultant to them in all matters safety related, being especially valued at their successful and usually oversubscribed Head Race in the late autumn. Stuart willingly participates in the growing number of Safety Development Seminars that are becoming a part of the Regional Rowing Safety Adviser’s responsibility in encouraging safety awareness in rowing.

Stuart was the Chairman of the (national) Water Safety Committee for a considerable number of years and has continued to be an extremely active member of the committee.

On retirement, he relocated to Loughborough and immediately became a member of Loughborough Boat Club where he not only acts as a willing safety consultant but also volunteers to provide help at the annual head race and at the club generally.

Stuart also presents on a number of the more complex safety related topics at regional safety development seminars.

As the first chairman of the National Safety Committee, Stuart effectively brought the relevance of safety matters in rowing to the notice of all involved in the sport. The Rules of Racing reflect his advice with safety being paramount. Stuart was responsible for the introduction of the club member’s safety handbook, ‘Row Safe, A Guide to Good Practice in Rowing’ together with its predecessors and continues to critically analyse hazards in rowing and uses his great wealth of experience to advise Rowing Safety Committee on best practice.

Stuart had the foresight to understand that developments in boat design and rowing technology together with increasing numbers of participants, would present major challenges to the sport of rowing particularly in the area of safety. His advisory safety documents, published for the benefit of all provide simple, straight forward and invaluable advice to participants who wish to remain safe.  Not only this however, they have established a benchmark for the sport and have evolved with the sport to remain sensible and relevant. His continued contribution to Safety Committee is crucial and his breadth of knowledge and experience in matters of safety are without challenge. In an increasingly litigious society, Stuart laid the safety foundation stone for the sport recognising the very serious risks associated with fast moving craft and creating guidelines to keep those involved safe. Successive chairmen and committees can develop his policy in light of changing circumstances but we must never forget that Stuart was the driver behind a formal safety policy in rowing from the outset.

Quite simply, Stuart has spent his lifetime contributing to safety education in rowing and developing policy and guidelines to keep rowers safe and free of injury. Accidents do happen, though his review process enables best practice to be identified and notified for the benefit of all.  His quiet, calm and unassuming personality masks a passion to ensure safe participation in our sport for all, whatever age or capability and British Rowing are in his debt for the thoroughness and professionalism that he has applied and continues to contribute to the development of our safety policy.

North West Region

Overall Regional Winner
Michael Allwood, Grosvenor Rowing Club

Novice Veterans Squad coach, involvement in Learn to Row successes in the Club, stalwart of the club, brought adaptive rowing to the club, organiser of Annual Veterans Dinner and Awards, official trailer tower!

Mike has developed the Novice Veterans Squad from Learn to Row courses to a squad of over 25 members, who have in varying combinations taken part in (and sometimes won!) Regattas, Head races and National rowing events.  He has also been involved in the development of Adaptive Rowing in the Club.  

Mike is respected and much appreciated by the whole of the Novice Veterans Squad, all of whom have supported this nomination. He turns up on a regular twice-weekly basis to help us improve our rowing and have fun at the same time – he is always cheerful and smiling and despite sometimes having his patience tested by our poor techniques, always makes us feel that our rowing is positive – we think he deserves some recognition for all his hard work, which is over and above his already busy day job as a dairy farmer.  It would be fabulous for his efforts for the Club and our Squad to be acknowledged. The large majority of the squad are middle aged men and women, who are new to rowing in the last 12 months – we are so grateful to Mike and the sport of rowing for all it has brought us!

Thames Region

Overall Regional Winner
Peter Moore, Thames Valley Park Rowing Club

At the end of the 2013 Regattas, Peter Moore stepped down from the Organising Committee of Thames Valley Park and Reading Town Regattas, after 54 years of dedicated service to the regattas and the Rowing Club.

Peter joined the committee of Reading Working Men’s Regatta (established in 1877 by the Palmer family of Huntley & Palmer Biscuits) in 1959 and served as Chairman for five years from 1971 before completing 36 years as Secretary including the challenging role of entry secretary from 1994-2004.  

He was instrumental in establishing Thames Valley Park Regatta in 1990.  This year we had a record 510 entries and it is a very popular event on the school junior rowing calendar.  

Peter has valued the tradition and standards of both regattas and has developed an event that combines the best of a rowing competition and social occasion for spectators.  Many of the entries from Reading Town are from overseas crews. 

He has worked tirelessly for the club – literally raising the club from the ashes – when the boathouse burned down, establishing a facility in hired containers, and developing the current location upstream of our regatta site.

His contribution to rowing includes 18 years as an Umpire, 20 years as a member of the ARA/British Rowing Council and in 2012 he was awarded the Diamond Jubilee medal “for dedicated service to the sport of rowing”.   The Regatta Committee would like to publicly express our thanks for this incredible service to the regatta and club, building it to the success we have today.  We hope to see Peter on the river bank for many years to come.

We quite simply would not exist without Peter’s input.

Event Category Winner
Julie Watson, Auriol Kensington Rowing Club

Julie Watson is involved in various events both nationally and regionally but we are nominating her for her role as Tideway Head and regatta Co-ordinator where she has to bring together all of the events on the Tideway to ensure that we have a clear code regarding safety and operations at all of the major National events.  Julie, along with Bill Mitchell, was instrumental in bringing about the Abandonment code for Tideway events after the aborted Tideway Head a number of years ago and to ensure that the code has  been adopted by all events without question. She is constantly working to ensure we maintain safety at all the major events based on the Tideway. 

Her contribution makes a significant impact at all levels – without Julie’s determination and level of commitment many of the events would not have come into line on the processes we have had to put into place – it says much that when she calls a meeting all major events are represented and thus we can always ensure that everyone is speaking from the same “hymn book”.

Julie has always given much time and effort not only at Club level but also at regional and national level and she deserves this recognition.  She has also recently stepped down as Safety Advisor at Henley Women’s which  in itself has seen her give much to ensure that the event went smoothly.

Open Category Winner
Mike Linehan, Reading Rowing Club

Mike was responsible for introducing “Explore” to Reading Rowing Club and has re-invigorated the Learn to Row scheme at the club.  In his role as Captain he has provided the leadership to take Reading Rowing Club’s  Sports Development Plan forward into the rowing and club membership development.

Currently Mike is taking his Coaching L2 badge – to be able to provide coaching to new starts. He has been encouraging new members on Learn to Row and has been coaching the new starts for two days per weekend.  He has completed cycling challenges to raise funds for the club, (over £10,000) and has represented Reading RC in the Senior Men’s 1st crew, including racing at Henley Royal Regatta in 2011 – whilst undertaking much of the above.

Mike has provided the leadership necessary to ensure the recent building work was undertaken and also the leadership and hands-on activity to develop rowing, Explore and coaching of new members.  His efforts have increased the club membership and successfully raised the club’s profile through media work associated with events.

He steps down as Captain this year after taking the club forwards almost single-handedly, but will continue to coach and support the Learn to Row and Explore groups, and will continue to row.  I still see emails coming in to me at midnight many days of the week as he organises further initiatives, works with Reading Borough council on issues affecting the club!

Safety Category Winner (and nominated for the National Safety Award)
Neil Jackson, Auriol Kensington Rowing Club

Neil Jackson has served the sport continuously over many years and has been, along with Bill Mitchell and Chris George, instrumental in ensuring safety levels on the River Thames have always remained high.  He was involved in our presentations to the Salvage Association and continues to ensure we maintain a high level of consciousness regarding safety amongst all clubs and schools.  Neil has served as Club Water Safety Advisor, Event Safety Advisor and more importantly Regional Water Safety Advisor and now continues as a Deputy Water Safety Advisor.  He has in addition served as a representative for his Division on British Rowing’s Council.

Neil is always ready to go in to any club or school to ensure coaches and steers are brought up to speed as required.  He is now preparing at the request of the Thames Regional Rowing Council and the Port of London Authority a collage of pictorial incidents on the Tideway for presentations to schools, which will enable us ensure young people can see visually where things can do dramatically go wrong.

This award is a fitting tribute to a man who has given much to our sport and selflessly at that.

Wessex & South East Coast Region

Overall Regional Winner (and nominated for the National Safety Award)
Gary Joyce, Itchen Imperial Rowing Club

Gary was the Safety Advisor of Itchen Imperial Rowing Club for many years and is still the Safety Advisor for the Itchen Imperial RC Regatta, the Itchen Junior Regatta and the Southampton Eights and Small Boats Head. 

He has served on the Hants & Dorset ARA/Wessex Region Water Safety Committee since it was formed over ten years ago – and has been one of its most active members during this period. Gary was also the Safety Advisor for the South Coast Rowing Championships in 2007 and 2011.

The work he has undertaken on Safety relating to the South Coast Championship Regatta has been adopted by the South Coast Council as the key element of their safety procedures and guidelines. 

Gary has played a leading role in the development of good practice and safety procedures within the region. 

WAGS Region

Overall Regional Winner
Ian Payne, Taunton Rowing Club

Founder, organiser, treasurer, chief coach, trailer driver, club captain, Learn to Row co-ordinator, inspiration!

Ian has set up a new club and has helped hundreds of adults and juniors in Learn to row courses, ferried boats to races, coached crews, begged, borrowed and cajoled clubs into selling, or loaning boats. 

The list is endless……he is the inspiration and backbone behind Taunton Rowing Club.  He has got the Club up and running on his own – besides being the best coach and supporter of all club members – he covers all areas besides coaching – funding, equipment, boats, trailers.  Taunton has two places to row, the river Tone and Wimbleball Lake and Ian is tirelessly moving boats from one site to another. 

He has literally grown a new club. Everyone in the club from the most junior to the old hands coming out of rowing retirement to take it up again have been welcomed, coached and charmed by Ian. He also managed to borrow a special adaptive virus for a wheelchair bound chap who the week before had expressed an interest in rowing!

From no base at all he has inspired many people of all ages to row at Taunton. From private and state schools he has included all. From nowhere he has found funds, boats and equipment and created a successful new club almost single handed.

Ian has also found time to lead a new project to build a new boathouse combined with community facilities in Taunton. This is now in planning as a result of Ian securing funds for the consultants and application. All the club members are indebted to him.

Administrative Category Joint Winners
Geraldine and Martin Jones, Gloucester Rowing Club

Gerry works tirelessly on behalf of the club and any new aspiring rowers.  She always has time to support/answer queries/coach/cox despite having a demanding and time consuming full time job at Bath University.  She is the most encouraging of people and a credit to Gloucester Rowing Club, without whom it would be difficult to see the club being as well supported as it is today.

Gerry co-ordinates the womens squad; all boats required, event entries, crews, coxes and makes a significant effort to get coaching for the squad on a regular basis and is always prepared to give up her time to help and coach others. She also runs the Explore rowing course which has grown significantly in size over the last year, and is key to retaining people after the Explore course.

She manages the Learn to Row courses and makes sure that volunteers are enough to maintain a good level of coaching. She is of course one of these volunteers. As such, she also managed the “fun regatta” that marked the end of the Learn to Row course, giving everyone excellent memories and ensuring that they keep rowing and become regular members of the club.

Both Gerry and Martin give their time up on a weekly basis to run the learn to row course at Gloucester Rowing Club. They are always around and willing to support whatever needs out new rowers need.

Without Gerry the club would not have such happy and enthusiastic beginners coming through.  She is an inspiration to all she comes in contact with, not just because of her expertise and experience but her gentle and encouraging manner.  

Her commitment and enthusiasm, is the key reason why I joined Gloucester as a full member, when I finished my learn-to-row course and why I, along with the girls I trained with, have really enjoyed racing at Evesham, Monmouth and Totnes. We wouldn’t have been confident enough to go to these events, if it hadn’t been for Gerry’s continual support. I feel that Gerry’s contribution to Gloucester will ensure our club continues to be successful and continues to grow and attract a wide variety of enthusiastic members.

She is an extremely good role model for all those coming into rowing.  Her support for those learning, experiencing good or bad days, winning or losing are met with the same level of professionalism, dedicated support and encouragement empathetically pitched at exactly the right level.

Gerry’s commitment is only equalled by that of her husband, Martin, managing part of the Novice crews and putting as much time and effort into the Learn to Row/Explore Rowing schemes as Gerry. 

Safety Category Winner (and nominated for the National Safety Award)
Andy Wallis, Minerva Bath Rowing Club

It is sometimes quite hard to imagine Minerva Bath Rowing Club functioning without Andy Wallis as to many questions asked the answer is: ‘Ask Andy Wallis’! Andy is one of our most senior members and has the respect form all other members. He is one of the few existing members who has rowed for Minerva at our previous site and played an important part in getting our (then) new site ready for rowing. 

Andy is our safety advisor, the women’s squad head coach, chief boat (and everything else that needs repairing) repairer and also ‘river gardener (that is cut the trees that have falling into the river and thus enables us to continue rowing!)

Andy is leading all maintenance at the club, be it boat repair or boat house maintenance.  In this role he has build the clubs new landing stage, helped build one of the boat houses, build racks for boat storage, cut blades down to the correct size and repaired many small (and bigger) hole or scratch in a boat…..the list of repairs he has done is endless. In this capacity he is constantly working his magic with our beginners VIII –which is a very old and tired boat but without which we couldn’t run our LTR courses and recruit new members effectively.

As a coach he is incredibly supportive often coming to races at which he isn’t racing –and giving up his own training time- to cycle along and cheer is crews on giving them great confidence.  It seems normal for volunteers to be excellent cake makers, this is one skill Andy lacks…however, he is excellent at eating them!

Andy is always happy to help when asked – I can’t even begin to imagine how many hours he spends every week on the phone with other Minerva members solving issues- and is one of our most valued volunteers. Other clubs benefit from his volunteering also. He is also one of the first to volunteer to be a marshall at headraces other clubs run on our stretch of the river and has coached University of Bath crews (they hire space in our boathouse) in the past as well.

As clear from his summary of achievements the impact Andy has on club life is hard to overstate!   He is a main contributor to:

Safe rowing:  There is no doubt a club like Minerva in which people just want to go out and row being the safety advisor is not the most thankful position. But Andy brings his natural charm to the role and upholds the safety issues for everyone. He is always approachable and makes it easy for people to report boat damage and problems as he doesn’t lecture them but helps fixing the problem. He gets everybody on board in his low key way, makes sure they know the rules and ensures safe club rowing.

Retention and development of women’s squad:  Andy has played a great role in helping retain all the new members we recruited over the past years. The women’s squad has easily tripled in the past three years and the time he has spend with development crews plays a large part in retention of the new members. At the same time he has devoted large chunks of his time to the senior women ensuring that despite the influx of new members they still get coaching and don’t feel not looked after. Under his lead the senior women have improved and won many a race, but also taking on the challenge of coaching less experienced crews with his mentoring. He is thus playing a major role in the enjoyment all women have in rowing at the club!

Upkeep of boat fleet and maintenance:  The time he spends fixing scratches and holes in boats means we are always able to go out using the boats we want to use and they are as good as they can be. He has also taught many a member how to maintain boats making sure it is not only him who can look after boats again ensuring we can use boats as much as possible …and as, due to a large increase in numbers, we are short on the odd boat or two it is important that the boats we have are well looked after and usable so members get the rowing experience they expect and don’t leave!

Yorkshire Region

Overall Regional Winner
Brian Snelson, York City Rowing Club

Brian has been the Club Treasurer for the last 10 years having spent many years previous to that as the Regatta Secretary.  He is also a Trustee of the Club and has held many other committee roles over the years.

Brian has contributed to creating a sustainable and thriving Club.  He has helped manage the finances and his presence on the committee has brought a balanced and measured outlook and what we should be doing.  His wisdom has helped the Club through many challenging periods.

His many years of loyal service have seen him made a Trustee of the Club as well as being made a Life member in honour of his service.  He ran the York regattas for many years and was also responsible for the training of countless umpires from the region.

Brian’s involvement with the Club, operating quietly in the background, has allowed active members to row and compete at all levels.  He has contributed to ensuring that they have the right environment to train and compete in whilst not competing himself.  His years of involvement have influenced many people to love and embrace the sport.

His involvement with the York regattas ensured thousands of people were able to race in the city whilst his regional involvement helped ensure umpires continued to be trained and integrated into the running of the regional events.

Brian has been successful in securing funding for initiatives within the Club from external sources and has only ever been interested in developing a balanced and thriving Club. He has been hugely successful in this.

Higher Education Category Winner
Rosie McLaren, Leeds University Boat Club

After a large intake to the novice men’s squad after the 2012 Olympics, the novice men’s squad showed great potential but a lack of organisation which meant that the crews began to flounder. After putting a lot of work into helping to coach the squad, Rosie was elected as novice men’s captain and her enthusiasm for the club and the crews had completely transformed the squad. This led to their success at various regattas later in the season. Rosie also made the effort to stay in Leeds longer over the summer with the Novice Men so that they could compete at an extra regatta.

She balances her heavy degree workload with attending every novice men’s outing both to drive and aid coaching, as well as every race, where she supports the crews, in addition to transporting the whole club’s equipment by towing the boat trailer. This means she gives up numerous hours during the week to attend outings and circuit training, as well as additional whole weekends.

This is after she has spent hours of her time organising the logistics of these outings, such as transporting rowers and coxes to York from Leeds, plus attending committee meetings and being a colourful member of our club at socials.  

She is also an incredibly reliable member of the club providing invaluable rowing knowledge and leadership advice.  The fact that several different members of the committee came to me separately to suggest that she be nominated for the award is testament to how conscious the club is of her hard work and valuable personality.

Open Category Winner
Richard Noble, York City Rowing Club

Richard has served the Club for at least 40 Years.  He has served on the Committee for at least 30 years and has served at least 20 of those as Chairman.  He has also held other major roles within the Club including Captain and Honorary Secretary.

Richard has made a huge contribution to the Club over the years but has always gone about his duties in a truly professional way,  often out of sight of the main membership.  He has been involved with the Club over busy and quiet periods but his involvement has contributed hugely to making the Club what it is today – a sustainable, successful and thriving organisation.

Richard has contributed to rowing as a sport as a competitor and Club Manager.  He has helped stabilise the club during difficult periods and he has helped contribute to its growth.  His management has allowed the rowers to get on with competing whilst he has helped strengthen the fabric of the Club together.

He is well respected member of the Club and rowing in the region.  His involvement and devotion to the Sport is clear and is demonstrated by the fact he devotes so much time whilst not having rowed for over 20 Yrs. 

Richard is standing down as Chairman this year and this award would be a fitting reward for many years of loyal service.  

Coach of the Year Awards

Club Performance Winner
Ian John, Hollingworth Lake Rowing Club

Ian’s voluntary work for the club and the reason for H.L.R.C. nominating for the first time is that his input cuts across all categories. His achievements, commitment and dedication to our club translate across more than one category, not least in his coaching of Jess Leyden to Junior World Champion Women’s 1x in Lithuania 2013. Jess came under Ian’s coaching at the age of twelve. As a committee member Ian was instrumental in committing the club to the early days of adopting and financially committing to Project Oarsome.  This was when Ian and others undertook the IA award and so the journey of many of our juniors began. 

However this is really only one part of the story.  In addition to this Ian’s commitment to the club and its members as a whole is incredibility impressive and wide-reaching.  As club captain for the past six years Ian works really hard to ensure that there is a welcoming, laid-back, yet structured approach to all who come through the door at HLRC. This involves not only getting them to come in the first place but coaching and coordination the new beginners or ‘newbys’ as he calls them. Be they old members returning after 40 to get back into the sport they enjoyed at Hollingworth Lake as a junior before going off to get jobs have family etc. and now looking for a little more relaxed ‘vet rowing’ – Ian accommodates them organizing then into crews finding a boat they can use, juggling the timetable of other crews wanting to access the equipment and seeking support from within the club to make sure they get coached if not by him.

His support with the juniors and their families is endless be they Project Oarsome, or those who joined last year on the back of the Olympics, juniors and more recently their mums and dads wanting to take up the sport as they spend most nights up there anyway.  Ian remarkably makes time for all, standing endlessly on the steps of the club leading the circuit training, time keeper for the run, galvanizing others to help.  As a true leader he ensures that all are bases are covered and shares his time with anyone who needs it. He has created an atmosphere and culture with in our club that is truly remarkable and supportive members at every level. As if that wasn’t enough…. relentlessly working behind the scenes on various initiatives to support the club and its athletes’ development though income generating so that we can buy boats and subsidise the entry fee and membership fees of the juniors and ensure that we are in a strong position to support the seniors.

Ian never hesitates to get involved with, to lead and coordinate and host events from Fun regattas to ‘come and try’ open days to the North of England Sprint Championships and The English Indoor Rowing Championships. Its as if he has shaped and created an ethos that run’s through out all we do. 

His infectious enthusiasm and leadership guides members /people to get involved and be part if it, part of our club It’s a culture and environment of nurturing, supporting, sharing , giving back, putting something back into the club, being proud of our club wanting to be part of the continued development of the club. Ian’s vision as captain but more so as coach is fundamental and truly instrumental to our club growing the ongoing success at Hollingworth which allows all to maximize their own potential. He is an inspiration to us all. 

Club Performance Highly Commended
Jerry Copping, Exeter Rowing Club

Over the last five years Jerry Copping has been a singular driving force behind the unprecedented success of Exeter Rowing club’s sculling squad.

His passion for the sport of rowing as well as his unlimited willingness to share his knowledge and skills for the sport have enabled wide variety of scullers to achieve their full potential.  Jerry is a great ambassador for rowing as a sport for all.  He is unselective in those that he coaches from learn to row juniors to masters with many years’ experience competing at the World Masters. Jerry’s commitment to coaching at the club goes beyond the many, many hours that he gives up every week and weekend. He provides support to athletes on all aspects of training and competition to ensure they are able and confident to compete at the highest level. 

Exeter is a small rowing club Jerry is often required to transport sculling boats on his car to regattas all over the country and even Europe. He has ensured some tremendous achievements for Exeter Rowing Club and these have included wins at GB Junior Trials, qualification and progression at both Henley Royal and Women’s Henley Regatta, Medals at National Championships and multiple gold medals at National Masters, Henley Masters and World Masters.

Club Development Winner
Janet Wilkinson, Tees Rowing Club

About 20 years ago Janet, with her two daughters, joined Tees Rowing Club and the family have been stalwarts of the club ever since. Janet’s particular contribution has been teaching newcomers how to row. There are very few of the club’s 200 members who have not been taught to row by Janet. Each week as new starters are given a taste of rowing Janet skilfully introduces safe practice, skill acquisition programmes and inducts newcomers to the role of volunteers in our all-inclusive club to a wide range of adults of varying ages and of men and women.

Janet is Tees Rowing Club’s Explore Rowing Coordinator. Explore Rowing clubs are encouraged to make new links with the local community, and help rowers find fun and more flexible ways to enjoy rowing. It isn’t just about welcoming new rowers, it’s also about providing our existing rowers with a whole range of activities so that they can keep rowing our rivers, lakes, and further south on canals.

Janet has successfully introduced Explore Rowing to Tees RC and its members and for those who do not wish to aim to be highly competitive it has been a welcome addition to our recreational rowing programme. Explore Rowers do compete but in a friendly, not so intense atmosphere as in local and regional regattas. Janet has led Explore Rowing Teams to venues on the region’s rivers in the Sunday League competing against local teams. These events are very sociable and have introduced our members to different communities of like – minded people. The work that Janet has put in with the Explore Rowing group has been time – consuming and effective. She has ensured that the programme offered attracts, interests and sustains large numbers in our membership.

If asked to put a figure against those who have been taught by Janet – around 60 athletes each year for the last 10 years would not be an exaggeration. 

Club Development Highly Commended
Jonathan Longridge, Thames Rowing Club

Jon Longridge was chief coach of the novice programme at Thames Rowing Club for the 2012/2013 season.  Over 300 individuals expressed an interest in joining Thames RC following the Olympics and after a series of ‘taster sessions’, over 110 of those individuals signed on to row at Thames in the novice programme.

Initially, in September there was a small group of coaches for the group, and over a period of a month or so Jon Longridge emerged as the coordinator of the group of coaches. With 112 athletes to cater for the administration was considerable and Jon oversaw the group, assisting by coordinating a varied training programme including; technical sessions, circuits, running and of course, indoor rowing. These land training sessions were complimented by water sessions on the weekend, with five different boats being used for multiple outings so that over the weekend up to 70 athletes at one time could be training in the novice programme alone (on land and water).

To supplement this programme, Jon also recruited two of the club’s ex-international women who were qualified to teach and an electronic booking-in system was set up. Organising 50 or more rowers each weekday took many additional hours before the training itself.  Jon was personally responsible for most of this. Jon also set up monthly meetings to coordinate his coaching team in order to ensure a consistent approach and determine the policy for the season.

In January a consortium was formed amongst the group to provide funds for the boat. This trend of the coaching team going above and beyond, and putting in both time and money to the novice programme was to be demonstrated again and again in the season, and Jon was the leader and one of the two major donors for this purchase.

Overall, Jon’s unwavering commitment and dedication to the programme allowed this group of novices experiences that would have otherwise been unavailable to them.  His women’s crews won the Remenham Head Novice, came second in the Women’s Head of the River, three novice eights won at Hammersmith Chiswick and Twickenham. The Men won at Twickenham and Henley Town & Visitors at IM3 status so of the 60 odd persons in the squad 32 won novices and 12 won IM3. 

In addition to some superb management and organisational skills, what stood out was Jon’s people skills – his unending patience, tact, diplomacy and positivity. I think these skills are what enabled him to keep a crew of volunteers and athletes going. He really cared about the club’s novices achieving, and demonstrated that by taking on, and not giving up on, what must have been a hugely challenging and demanding role, in addition to his career and home responsibilities.

Coaching Team Winners
Al Slinn, Chris Hudson and John Pearson, Grosvenor Rowing Club

This core team have been responsible for more than 500 people being introduced to the sport of rowing. They have increased novice rowing substantially at the club and been solely responsible for the introduction of an inaugural Novice Masters Squad of 20+ being set up. Last year membership of the club reached 200 for the first time in the club’s history thanks in a major part to this group’s commitment and enthusiasm.

It is unusual to get a group so committed to a cause as these guys are about introducing anyone, old, young, fit, unfit, co-ordinated or not to the sport of rowing.  They have time for anyone and will help in any way.  We set this course up years ago in answer to the problem of not enough Novice rowers in squads in the Club, this is now a feeder for every level including our Elite Development Squad (two athletes came off last year’s November course and qualified for Henley this year!!) but we also know that parents of Kings School and Queens Park use the Course to understand what rowing really is and why their children love it. Whilst some have subsequently joined our squads, many others now row for Rex or have become volunteers at Queens Park…but the one common thread is that they have all been enthused and inspired by this core team.

GB Rowing Team Special Award
Angelo Savarino, Newcastle University Boat Club

This is the inaugural award for the person who has made an outstanding contribution to the development of young rowers and to the sport of rowing.  In this first year the award goes to Angelo Savarino.

Angelo Savarino has had a clear vision of what he wanted to achieve at Newcastle University Rowing Club.  Since his arrival in July 2005, he has built the programme steadily to a point in 2013 where the University men’s eight were winners in the British University Championship eights for a second year in succession and his women’s eight was the most successful university programme outside of Oxbridge.  

Angelo had six rowers in the GB Rowing Team at the 2013 World U23 Rowing Championships.  Nicole Lamb was in the women’s eight that won a silver medal, Gemma Hall was in the lightweight women’s quad that won a bronze medal and 4 open weight men were in the men’s eight who came 5th.  Angelo coached the men’s coxed four at the U23 World Rowing Championships which were held in in Linz.

Angelo started by developing the men’s programme and has now grown the women’s programme alongside this. He has developed the team of coaches necessary to grow and support these programmes.  In addition, where appropriate, he has sought out and developed other support services.  Angelo has supported activities in the North East and the friendly but intense rivalry between Newcastle and Durham universities and other high performing programmes in the area has helped to drive the rowing standard to a new level.

As well as his day to day coaching Angelo is part of the British Rowing coach educators workforce and is active in the North East were he supports local and regional coaches to achieve level 2 coaching awards.