An update from the Committee of progress in December.

 Coming Soon: Icebreaker - a new event on New Years Day starting at 11am there will be a family social event plus racing in scratch fours (like the old Boxing Day Fours). It will include a preliminary race in our Parent's Challenge event.  

Recovery and Rebuild:

We have now had what we hope is the final meeting with the loss adjuster in respect of the insurance claim for the buildings. This is an important step in the rebuild partly because it frees up time to work on the plans for the future, and partly because it has given us a firm idea how much the insurers will pay out (assuming they agree with their own loss adjuster), which will help give us some understanding what money we have for the next stages.

Separately, discussions about security of tenure continue and we hope that we will be able to resolve those in the New Year.

Following a tender process, in which four architects submitted tenders, the Property Sub-committee has recommended an architect to the committee to help the club work out what the rebuild should involve. In this first feasibility stage we will be trying to understand the requirements for a new building, approximate costings, planning limitations and consulting with the membership about their views. We do not have any specific design in mind at this stage. We hope to have an initial consultation about use of space and functionality requirements ready in January.

The next batch of replacement boats is expected early in January with the delivery of two eights, three fours and two doubles from Empacher.

We have commissioned some more temporary racking which we hope will be in place before the boats arrive.

Club members will have seen the notices advising of the planning application for the temporary changing facilities. We are hoping that permission will be granted early in the New Year so that we can have plumbed in toilets and a dry changing area which will relieve the congestion in the gym.

Future Club Structure:  

At the December Committee meeting, the Committee endorsed a proposal that the assets and operations of the club should be transferred to an incorporated body. Currently the club does not exist as a separate legal body - it is a collection of people (a club) operating together under a shared contract (the club constitution). This means that it cannot own assets or land, and that the committee can be personally liable for the debts of the club. A rugby club chairman was recently found liable for about £170,000 of building work debts so this is not a theoretical risk. With the club's annual turnover into six figures, a six or seven figure building project in prospect, and the desirability of the club itself holding an interest in land the committee agreed that the club should be transferred to a separate legal body. The exact structure to be adopted (e.g. a "Community Benefit Society" or "Company Limited by Guarantee") is still being reviewed. Any change will require the approval of the members at a general meeting of the club, which we will call in the Spring when we have the details sorted out.

The club has since 2004 been currently registered with the tax authorities as a "Community Amateur Sports Club (CASC)" which is a (more or less) irreversible tax status which gives us a selection of tax benefits and which requires us to promote community amateur sport. The move to an incorporated body represents an opportunity to review whether this is the best status for the club (both in terms of our ongoing operations and because of the specific challenges of fundraising and rebuilding) or whether charity status would be suitable. No decision has been taken - much more work needs to be done on the specifics - but any proposed change in status would be put to the membership at the same time as the incorporation, as the constitution of the incorporated body would need to match the proposed status.

Fundraising: 

We are grateful to the family of the late Brian Haynes. The collection at his memorial raised over £1,000 for the club's rebuilding fund. Steve Coleman ran the New York marathon a few weeks ago, and raised £440 for the club. A number of members have been including donations with their membership renewals, so many thanks to them. The Fundraising sub-committee will release details in the New Year of the fundraising activity plan they are putting together.

Membership Renewal: 

A reminder that membership fees and racking fees are due for renewal on 1st January. Since January can be a difficult time for big payments, a reminder that there is an option to pay it in three instalments via three cheques dated January, February and March - see the Staged Payment Scheme. Currently you cannot do this online.

The last month: 

Racing: The club has continued its racing success with wins at Hampton Small Boats (J15 4x+, WJ15 4x+ 1st & 2nd, J15 2x, J17 1x) and Walton (IM3 2x, J17 1x, J15 2x, W MasB 2x, W MasB 1x). Well done to everyone who raced! Congratulations too to Seb Devereux who was invited to attend the GB Junior training camp in Nantes at the end of December following on from his excellent performance at the early ID trials. 

Time Trial: We held a club time trial in November instead of Fours and Pairs which was successful and enjoyed by all participants. There will be another one on 21 January (above the lock this time) with space for anyone who wants to enter – speak to Sally or any of the coaches if you’d like more details. 

Club Supper: The club supper was well attended, with over 150 members and their guests turning out to support the club and hear from Zac Purchase our guest speaker. The club trophies were awarded by Katherine Grainger, and went to: 

  • Lehman Trophy (outstanding sporting achievement) : J16 4x of Jacob Buckle, Seb Devereux, Josh Kent and Charlie Simon
  • Clayton Sculls (fastest male club sculler) : Seb Devereux
  • Cathcart Bowl (fastest female club sculler) : Clare Haley
    • The Clayton Sculls and Cathcart Bowl are awarded based on Long Distance Sculls results
  • Coombes Trophy (male club member of the year) : John Stephenson
  • Sharpe Trophy (female club member of the year) : Karin Phillips

New Pontoon: If you’ve been on the river recently you will have noticed the new pontoon we have bought. So far feedback has been good – certainly it seems to be a lot less slippery than the concrete rafts. We have had some very mild weather recently but we can’t rely on this continuing and if we do experience icy spells please don’t wash the boats (it isn’t often that you will hear the captain saying this!) as it creates ice patches. 

Bret King - Coaching Award: We are very pleased that Bret King has been named Coach of the Year at this year’s Bucks Sport Awards. All of our coaches are a huge asset to the club and they are so often the unsung heroes so it is really gratifying that his contribution has been recognised in this way. Well done Bret.

Food: The club breakfast service has been successfully restarted thanks to the efforts of Sam Simon, Jackie Harding and the junior mums. Not only do they dispense welcome food and drink but they always have a smile and a friendly word, so please use the service and let the team know how much you value them! Thanks too to Sam and the team for organising a very successful junior Christmas lunch at Longridge. 

..and finally: A reminder that to get these emails you have to be subscribed to the newsletter list: if you know any club members who do not get these emails, they can subscribe at http://www.marlowrowingclub.org.uk/newsletter

Happy Christmas and a successful 2012 to you all!

Regards Ed Phillips (Club Secretary) and the committee