Pulling together for the Women’s Eights Head of the River Race

Rowing clubs have shared resources with flood-stricken clubs to enable them to participate in Saturday’s Women’s Head #thisiswhywerow


Helping out at Ironbridge Rowing Club

Located on the River Severn, Ironbridge Rowing Club is celebrating its 150th year, but like many clubs around the country, the Shropshire club has been hit by recent storms with flood water coming inside the boathouse each time.

Sarah Staniforth, Ironbridge RC captain, said: “Crews have been unable to row on the river since 8 February, so this will have been the final time on the water before competing on the Thames this weekend.

“We were supposed to race at Worcester Head of the River on 15 February, but this race was cancelled due to river conditions – this normally provides good practice for the London distance.

“The women’s squad have an incredible team spirit and we certainly do not let anything get in the way of our training including three storms and a boathouse which has been flooded three times. We have planned training in around cleaning up the boathouse and moving boats… all of which we include as cross-training!”

Luckily, despite the floods, damage to the club’s boats has been minimal, but road closures around the West Midlands have made trailering boats almost impossible.

Last week, Molesey member Emma Feerick tweeted a message offering to help clubs in difficulties and, as a result, the Ironbridge crew is one of several now able to compete at the Women’s Eights Head of the River Race.

Emma said: “I had actually emailed Ross RC who appeared worst affected, but they had arrangements in place and suggested I contact Ironbridge, who then passed me to Bewdley and Pengwern.”

We have boats and blades being loaned from Twickenham Rowing Club and Molesey Rowing Club

Sarah said: “Emma certainly was able to ‘magic’ boats out of the air – by 10.35am on Friday 28 February she had three boats available with a possible fourth being sourced. She had arranged with the clubs loaning the boats and also contacted the events secretary at WEHoRR to explain our position.

Help Ross Rowing Club

Ross Rowing Club have started a fundraising campaign to raise £5,000 towards the refurbishment of the club after flood damage. Read more here. If you're fundraising for your club because of flooding, then please let us know.

“Speaking on behalf of the crews, we are humbled by the support we have received. We have boats and blades being loaned from Twickenham Rowing Club and Molesey Boat Club. We are now boating on from Putney Town Rowing Club – they have been brilliant too – ensuring that our race numbers were at their club for boating.

“It has been so heart-warming that so many different clubs have been quick to offer support to those clubs who have been hit by the trio of floods in February.

It doesn’t matter where we come in the race, just being in London will be the achievement

“We have had offers of support from clubs locally on the Severn and now clubs on the Thames. Rowing certainly is a sport that thrives during adversity. During our 150th year as a club, we wanted to get the Ironbridge Rowing Club name out at a range of local and national events, so it’s lovely to know so many clubs have helped us achieve this.”

If you’re at the Women’s Eights Head on Saturday then look out for crew 103 from Ironbridge on race day. Sarah said: “It doesn’t matter where we come in the race, just being in London will be the achievement and being able to row the course, I know our crew will row with one massive Ironbridge heart.”

Emma is also racing on Saturday with crew 21 Molesey B. She added: “I think one of the comments when I asked to help was #thisiswhywerow. We’re one big family and it’s only about three degrees of separation from St Andrews in Scotland down to Christchurch in Dorset!”