Yorkshire Rows and Minerva Midweek Sculling up for Women’s Sport Trust awards

Minerva Midweek Sculling and Yorkshire Rows selected as finalists for the Women’s Sports Trust #BeAGameChanger awards


Minerva Bath RC clash of the clubs 2016

Two local rowing initiatives will be up for awards at the Women’s Sport Trust #BeAGameChanger awards on Thursday (11 May). The awards recognise individuals and organisations doing the most to progress women’s sport. Winners will be announced on Thursday evening at a ceremony in central London, with rowing featuring in the following awards:

Inspiring Initiative – Local: Minerva Midweek Sculling

Minerva Midweek Sculling is a programme that aims to get older people, particularly women, active through rowing by teaching sculling on weekday mornings. Jane Giddins, the organiser of the programme, often describes it as ‘yoga on water’, which helps older women to identify with it.

Now in its third year, the programme has been a huge success, having already taught over 60 women (and a few older men) to scull. The majority of the women are over 40 and many are in their 50s and 60s. The oldest beginner was 76.

A high proportion of participants are carers. One rower, whose husband is suffering from a severe degenerative disease, describes her sculling as her ‘carer’s project’, allowing her to take care of her own physical and mental well-being alongside her husband’s.

Most of the women taking part were not previously active. Rowing has provided them with a new and social way to lead active lives. This programme is now the fastest growing squad within Minerva Bath RC and is already starting to have an impact beyond Bath with support from British Rowing, Sport England and Bath and North East Somerset Council.

Sporting Role Model – Team: Yorkshire Rows

Yorkshire Rows is a team of four formidable mums from Yorkshire who are the first women to row across the North Sea. They also hold the world record for being the oldest women’s crew to row across the Atlantic.

The four women, all from Yorkshire, took up rowing at a local club five years ago.  Each week after taking their children to school, they would venture out onto the river Ouse and learn to row.

Inspired by their endeavours, they decided to take on the Herculean task of entering the world’s toughest rowing race – 3,000 nautical miles from the Canary Islands to Antigua. It took almost three years to plan, organise and prepare for.

Facing storms, hurricanes, 40 foot waves, sleep deprivation and power and kit failures, the four women managed to cross the Atlantic in 67 days, five hours and two minutes and took the world record for being the oldest women’s crew to cross any ocean, completing the row in February 2016.

In addition to the ocean rowing, they have also managed to raise thousands of pounds for their charities. These women have touched the hearts of many and continue to do so in their commitment to show how true friendship, team work, and belief can help you achieve your dreams.

Many people have been inspired by their story and have tried something new or taken up a new sport or challenge. The team spend a lot of time working with women’s groups and schools to encourage this. You can read their story in Yorkshire Rows: Four mums in a Boat.

Last year, British Rowing won National Governing Body of the Year at the #BeAGameChanger awards, recognising our work to engage women and girls in sport and to raise the profile of women’s sport.