Gary Harris’ 30 year service to British rowing recognised at Board meeting

Gary Harris stood down on 31 October after 16 years as British Rowing’s Deputy Chairman and a total of 28 years’ service to the sport of rowing

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At yesterday’s (31 October) British Rowing Board meeting, Gary Harris formally stood down as Deputy Chairman of British Rowing after 16 years in the role.

During 30 years service to rowing as a senior volunteer and member of the British Rowing Board and Council, Harris has held numerous roles at a club, regional, national and international level, driving development and transformation to many aspects of the sport.

During his 16 years as Deputy Chairman of British Rowing, Harris oversaw the development of World Class Start, a programme to identify and recruit people from non-rowing backgrounds onto the Olympic pathway. He represented Great Britain as a delegate at FISA World and European events and was the Chairman of the Organising Committee of the FISA Junior Coaching Conference.

As well as his role as Deputy Chairman, as an active rowing coach, Harris has been an integral part of British Rowing’s coach education programme helping to develop it from the outset, as well as implementing it as a course tutor, assessor and verifier over the years.

As part of his tenure as Chairman of the National Coaching Committee, which he held for six years, Harris was lead volunteer for Project Oarsome. The project introduced rowing to 100 state schools across the country which has been the foundation of a big increase in junior participation over the past decade.

In addition, for twelve years, Harris was lead officer for rowing safety dealing with all matters relating to safety within rowing.

He is a proud member of Birmingham Rowing Club, for which he was Club Captain between 1989 and 1991, and has represented the West Midlands Region on the National Coaching Committee for five years.

Alongside his voluntary roles within rowing, Harris has spent his business career in the pharmaceutical industry, working in sales, sales management and learning and development.

Gary Harris has been a stalwart of British rowing over the past three decades and will continue to be involved in the sport through British Rowing’s coach education programme as well as continuing to represent Great Britain as President of the Coupe de la Jeunesse.

Reflecting on his time on the Board of British Rowing following his final Board meeting as Deputy Chairman, Gary Harris said: “Looking back on more than two decades as a director of British Rowing there has been so much achieved by the association, volunteers and staff members.

“I count myself fortunate to have been involved in rowing during a period of unprecedented success for the sport in this country. The success at World, Olympic and Paralympic level has been outstanding and the investment in community level rowing to improve facilities, equipment provision and coaching has resulted in a significant expansion in participation.

“The funding to enable this success has come largely from the National Lottery and I thank that organisation, UK Sport and Sport England for their contribution. I also would like to thank all of the individuals I have had the privilege to work with during this period for their commitment and support; they deserve the credit for what has been achieved.

“I offer them my best wishes for the future and to all in the sport I say ‘have a good row’.”

At British Rowing’s AGM in October, Kate O’Sullivan was voted in as the next Deputy Chairman of British Rowing, she takes up her post from 1 November.

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