MARLOW'S SECOND FEMALE CAPTAIN IN 129 YEARS


On 26 July, the Marlow AGM voted appointed only its second female captain in 129 years, following Ann Redgrave's 2 years in the job in 1989/90. The lucky (some would say crazy, for taking on such a thankless task!) young lady is Charlotte Hill, known variously as Lottie, Grotty - or if you want to use one of the best boats - Ma'am.
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Interviewed recently, Lottie had this to say about her path to stardom:
"I started rowing after seeing an advert in the paper at Easter 1994, when I was home from College. I'd just returned from spending the Winter in Finland at Jyvaskyla University on an Erasmus scheme, and had planned to continue my swimming after College - do that full time for a couple of years and see where it got me.
After seeing the ad, for women from other sports wanting to try for the Atlanta Olympics, I decided to apply. We has to go to the ARA for a day of testing, where I met Caroline Hodgson. The group started training on August Bank Holiday of 1994, taught by Doug Parnham at Thames Tradesmen in Chiswick. I stayed there until December 97, when I went back to Chester to complete my degree - I had taken 2 years out to row, mostly sculling, taught by Doug Parnham alongside the rowing training.
I went to trials at Ely in February 97, and did well enough to join Mike Spracklen's group when it started up at Longridge. I moved to Marlow after completing my degree, and joined MRC that summer after failing to get into the VIII.
Last summer I made the Women's 4- which raced in Lucerne at the last of the World Cup Regattas, and then went on to row in the Commonwealth Regatta in Ontario, Canada. I had planned to give up serious rowing after that, but I went out to New Zealand for the winter - their summer - and stayed with Steve and Leigh Wills in Wanganui. I enjoyed rowing there - it was so laid back and stress free - and so got back into it again on my return.
I was a member of the composite VIII that won the Women's Head this Spring, and decided to give up on a high after winning at Women's Henley.
Now I'm trying trying to find my feet on the other side of the club!"

BEGINNING-OF-MID-SEASON NEWS ROUND UP

As I begin to write the latest issue of Round-Up my first thoughts are that it is going to be very short! I could just say 'rain, rain and yet more rain' and be done with it, but I feel that would not be considered adequate… so I'll try and dream something up to write about…….
Results – hmmm, Ben Tipney I guess is the most notable – he won the Junior Trials a couple of weeks ago, which no mean feat puts him in a fantastic position to realise his squad aspirations. Best of luck for future trials. He was also asked to attend the senior team trials and put in a very good performance there, beating many scullers a lot older than himself. Following fast in his footsteps is younger brother Dan who competed in the British Indoor Rowing Championships last weekend. Dan came away with a third place from this event, with many other young Marlow members performing very well.
Training over the last few weeks, due to weather conditions, has seen good use made of the ergos and weights at the club – I haven't seen such a steamy room in ages! On the odd occasions I have ventured down to the club over the last few weeks to do some training (OK, OK, weight maintenance as opposed to training) I've found it was motivating that the club was so busy – not so good if you can't get onto an ergo of course. (Who says? - Ed) It's frustrating all around I'm sure with only crew boats or experienced boats allowed out on the water in such conditions, if at all. This weekend hopefully will see a return to the river of smaller boats and novices. Novices must have forgotten what it's all about, having only just gotten the bit between their teeth as it was! I'm impressed to see a healthy number still around now that the weather has taken a turn for the worse – still, it can get colder yet.
Vain attempts to get information from various other sections of the club have resulted in er… nothing so far, so I'm afraid I have nothing to report from the Vets or men's sections, (come on, you lot, pull your fingers out!) other than the fact that the men seem to be into 5km ergo tests at the moment – poor sods!
Before I go – DON'T FORGET ABOUT THE CEILIDH - 8th DECEMBER- MRC.

Chairman's Report

2005


I am writing this report after a hectic week sandwiched by Marlow’s two summer Regattas. The first event being the Town Regatta; the rowing side of which is entirely organised by Marlow Rowing Club and which provided a splendid event for juniors and veterans on a bright day which had clouded over by the time of the traditional firework display. It was the fifth successful year of an event which seems to grow in popularity with the town every year. This year, subscribers tickets sold out at least a fortnight prior to the event. 

Just as the clear-up operation finishes, other members of our club are engaged in the preparations for a different event at Dorney Lake. Marlow Regatta is now a multi-lane event similar in style to the world—cup regatta held at the same venue and which was televised in May. Judging by the ever increasing number of entries, crews are eager to race at such a regatta which, from the competitors view-point uses a similar format to the world championship event. With Dorney Lake having been nominated as the venue for the 2006 world championships and we all hope, the Olympic Regatta in 2012, competitors at Marlow Regatta will be able to experience racing at a truly world class facility. This year the regatta was held on one of the hottest days of the year and both competitors and officials in blazers were soon wilting in the heat.

Our Henley Women’s Regatta crew had a tough draw; just losing in the semi-final by 300mm but in the fastest time, to the eventual winners Yale University.

As the club prepares for Henley Royal Regatta, I am pleased to report that all our club crews have pre-qualified in the Wyfold, Brittania and Fawley cup (two composite crews) leaving us with not much to do at the Friday qualifying races except enjoy the spectacle. We wish them all luck and a good draw.

It was with great sadness that I heard on the day before Marlow Regatta that Club member Andrew Justice had died. Andrew was a Marlow junior, coached and encouraged by Francis Smith who went on to win a silver medal in the GB eight at the Moscow Olympics and was an inspiration and friend to fellow Marlow member Sir Steve Redgrave. Andrew was a regular if infrequent visitor to the Club, from his home in New Zealand and had come this year to enjoy Henley Royal and support a Marlow Junior crew at Marlow Regatta, racing in the boat named after him. It is one of life’s ironies that he never saw the crew race in “his” boat.

It is also with great sadness that I have to report the death last month, of Vera Williams. Vera was a keen supporter and regular visitor to the club with her great friend Ken Spivey and had been a member since before the war. Few Sundays passed without seeing them both smartly dressed, call in for refreshments before luncheon. Her tales of the “good old days” made me realise that the club, has probably always played a significant part in a great many people’s lives and continues to do so.

Speaking of long associations with the Club, our Hon Sec. Mike Mounsdon has several times tried to desert his post but has been prevented from so doing by lack of applicants. This time I think he means it. After 40 years of carrying out the role, and provided that he is re-elected for his final year as Hon Sec, Mike has announced that he will retire at the 2006 AGM. It is a sobering thought, but while Mike was being elected as Hon Sec. I was just leaving school! Aspirants to the post will have to be from the younger membership if they are to match Mike’s tenacity!

Most members underestimate the importance of the club bar which has always been staffed by unsung heroes. Keith Bracey is one such member who carried out many of the jobs required of the Bar Secretary in silence and often after most people had gone home. It is a thankless task with scant reward but one of great importance to the continuity of the club. Our thanks to Keith who recently resigned, for the many hours of unpaid labour contributed on behalf of the membership.

Members are also reminded of the significant financial contribution that the bar has made in recent years. I for one, would rather have the choice of spending my money over the bar than losing it to the Treasurer in the form of increased subscriptions. Moreover you may have heard of the new licensing laws which require clubs such as ours to obtain a premises licence. You will not be surprised to hear that the committee has already submitted the Club’s application, making our Club one of the relatively few that will have obtained the new licence before the deadline later this year.

Project Oarsome and the Junior Development squad continue to gather impetus. Richard Robinson has run the P0 squad in such a way that many of these younger club members can’t wait to attend his week-end sessions. He has barbecues and spaghetti evenings and even publishes a weekly newsletter amongst his group. He occasionally enlists help from other sections of the club to run the sessions. I should say that he always enlists help, but only occasionally receives it. I am surprised at the reluctance shown by some members to help with the juniors. It can be very rewarding to see the youngsters progress, and perhaps one or two will follow the Marlow tradition and go on to be World or even Olympic rowing Champions.

Marlow Rowing Club, Sean Farrelly and Great Marlow School have been the ideal Project Oarsome partnership with the school providing a seemingly endless supply of enthusiastic young participants. We as a Club, particularly like the Great Marlow athletes because, by the time they reach our club, they are already experienced on the ergo and with Sean’s in-school training, need only minimal briefing before they can go afloat. It was very encouraging to see the first PO Crews competing at Marlow Spring and Town Regattas. Another successful partnership started last year by Julie McCulloch has prospered. Although Julie has been unable to continue, as she will shortly be moving abroad and will soon have two children to look after, she has found a worthy successor in Jackie Thoeming who can often be found at the club with a novice on a rope! Between them Julie and Jackie have coached a number of novices to their first regatta wins. With both successful junior and adult novice beginner programmes, the club will continue to gain new members. It will then be up to the skills of our various coaches to fashion these raw materials into winning combinations.

Recently a report was published on the inquest of the tragic drowning in January of this year, of the Reading RC junior. It was no surprise that Reading R C and its operational practises were scrutinised minutely.  Subsequently they were criticised for failing to assess the risk properly and individual coaches were also personally criticised in a manner which questions their competence. Although a tragic accident, it could have been prevented and we should learn from the mistakes of others. Fortunately for our Club, Richard Lewis our safety adviser has looked carefully at all areas of the club operation and advised us accordingly. Safety is a matter which, as this incident shows, we must all take seriously. Richard has written a comprehensive safety manual for our Club with guidance notes which, provided we abide by them, will protect both coach and athlete and will ensure a safe environment for all.

As we approach this year’s AGM, I am conscious of the fact that my term of office is drawing to a close. You may remember that last year I had planned to stand down as Chairman but offered to stand for election again to provide some continuity for our then new Treasurer Jackie Thoeming. A year has passed and Jackie has taken to the job as a duck to water, displaying shrewd financial judgement and good sense. It must therefore be time to pass on the baton or in boating parlance to hand over the rudder to another member.

During my time on the committee, first as member responsible for premises, then as Captain and latterly as Chairman and Membership Secretary, I have seen many changes at the club, from boats and oars made of wood, to those made from carbon and kevlar. From members towing an old trailer with their cars to local regattas, to a dedicated tow vehicle and purpose built modern trailer, journeying abroad to international regattas. From having one unreliable and downright dangerous coaching launch to having six reliable and electrically started launches. Moreover we have progressed from a handful of private boats stored on the premises to more than a hundred, with racks at every turn.

Sir Steve has undoubtedly been the architect of the great rowing revival, making it cool to row, and even cooler to win. It is therefore fitting that the club played an important part in raising the funds to erect a statue in his likeness, unveiled by HM the Queen, within sight of the club. Some would say, and I expect the great man himself would be one, that it will be some years before he looks quite as stout as his statue.

We currently have four schools boating from our Club and, at week-ends especially, there is such pressure on the facility that boating times and limitations on numbers have to be set. It is a great relief that Sir William Borlase’s school is actively searching for alternative accommodation and it will be to our mutual benefit when they are able to vacate our premises. The additional rack space reverting to our use will allow the storage of more and better equipment for all. All we need to do is raise the funds to purchase it.

In more recent times, the committee has successfully applied for Project Oarsome, Community Sports Club Status, Clubmark accreditation and a Community Sports Coach grant, although the latter was so beset with unnecessary bureaucracy and ill-thought out political correctness that the committee considered that we were better off without it and its restrictions. Our club has been guided by its committee through some difficult times and I am sure that you will be able to rely on them and the new Chairman to continue so to do.

I have yet to decide what I will do with the considerable amount of “free” time I now expect to have at my disposal but to my mind .. "There is nothing, absolutely nothing half so much worth doing, as simply messing about in boats”

 

Peter Hunt
Chairman
Summer 2005

 

2006


Well it has been a memorable 4 years as Captain of Marlow Rowing Club, and I am somewhat sad and relieved to be handing over the reins at last. The Club has undergone many positive changes during my time and we have picked up some remarkable successes as well, at both national and international level including some great performances at Henley, all of which have made me very proud.

This my final year is - no exception - for the first time in nearly forty years the Club had a full crew in a Henley final. The Wyfold Four of Jim Cotter, Tom McGibbon, Dan Tipney and Paul Oboyle were a late formation who had their first race at Marlow Regatta, doing well to come second in the Senior 1 coxless event. By Henley they were flying and literally cruised into the final, destroying most of their opposition by the Barrier! In the final, they were up against last years losing finalists -Thames, a crew who had been together for over 2 years. Sadly there was no fairy tale ending but the guys put on a memorable performance against a crew who probably could have won the Visitors this year — WELL DONE Guys!

The club also had a top notch Brit four (Dave Vernon, Rob Downie, Richard Ainley, Richard Aplin and Lindsey Wilson) who went Out on Friday to the losing finalists, York. There were also two outstanding Fawley junior quads one of which did exceptionally well to make the semi finals. Matt Baker and Miles Sharpe also put up a great performance in the double sculls and the development crew were unlucky not to qualify in the Thames Cup.

At Women’s Henley, Marlow had a great year with two wins coming in the Single Sculls events. Tash Wase capped off an outstanding season to win her event, as did Steph Mottram who took the junior title and will now go on to race in her single at the Coupe de Ia Juenesse. The women have had a great season with many wins and a special mention should go to Claire Haley who is retiring far too early this year. Claire won a number of elite titles this year as she always does and has been a key member of the women’s squad for many years now.

There were too many wins from the junior squad to list here in detail, but special note should go to the junior boys J16 quad who won the two Blue Riband events of the year so far, National Schools Regatta and the junior sculling head title. The crew of Mike Mottram, Jack Hockley, Sam Prosser, and Marcus Glover now head off to Nat ional Champs with an eye on the Anglo-French match.

There are so many people whom I would like to thank for all their help over the last few years, all of whom have made my job both easier and sometimes harder — only joking guys. All of the coaching team do an outstanding job and put in so much of their time to help to make this club the success that it is. Without their efforts, Marlow would not have the standing and respect that it now receives from its peers. Also I’d like to thank everyone on the committee who has helped out during my tenure, often a thankless task, but the work these guys do is essential for the Club to run smoothly. I’ve loved every minute of my captaincy and I hope that my successor has the same good fortune that I have had.

Goodbye!

Bret King
Captain
July 2006

2006


I am pleased to report that Marlow Rowing Club has enjoyed another memorable year.


Review of the year – on the water (June 2006 to June 2007)

Since the last AGM we have had international success at the World Championships held at Dorney and my congratulations to Katherine Grainger MBE, Zac Purchase, Naomi Riches and Sarah Winckless for achieving Gold in their chosen events. 

These achievements have been matched with Stephanie Mottram winning Gold at both the Coupe and World Youth Olympics. Coupled with the successes of Stephanie and Tash Wase at the 2006 Women’s Henley and Henley Royal supported by strong performances by both the Juniors and Men it has proved to be one of our most successful seasons. 

However it is not only at the highest level that the Club has continued to excel. Across all squads there have been excellent results and active participation. I will not steal any more of our Captain Tom McGibbon’s thunder for his report but it has been very gratifying to see everyone’s hard work bear some reward. My thanks to all of the athletes and coaches for their contribution.

Review of the year – off the water

To provide some structure to the remainder of my report (a welcome change I appreciate!) I have set out my review of the year under various headings which hopefully make sense:-

Finances

Concentrating on the financial position of the Club I am again pleased to report that under the constant vigilance of our Treasurer, Jackie Thoeming, the Club has achieved a surplus and that the Club’s finances remain strong. 

Following the precedent set in the last few years we have continued to spend our surpluses on new boats, equipment and premises as part of our ongoing Club improvement strategy and I would like to see this strategy continue along with the establishment of a “property refurbishment fund”. It is quite clear that a substantial re-build will be required in the medium term (within say 10 years) of the oldest part of the Clubhouse so it makes sense to establish a fund for this project. 

Within the annual report Members will have a detailed account of the Club’s financial position and the surplus for the year. 

Club strategy

As indicated in last year’s report I established a Strategy Working Party that was chaired by Richard Robinson. The main recommendations from this group can be summarised as follows:-

• Premises should be refurbished and improved and in the medium term a rebuilding programme will need to be considered

• Re-location of the Club was not considered a viable option

• The Club should continue to strive for rowing excellence across all groups and maintain the ethos set out in the Club’s rules and constitution

• The Club should try to establish a high performance under 23 academy to encourage the flow of membership into the senior elite groups

• Encourage further involvement of Club members in the sport particularly through help at events and umpiring courses

I fully support these recommendations and hope they meet with the approval of all members at the AGM. My thanks to Richard and all members who contributed to this strategy discussion.

Social events

We have again had an excellent year of social events with a very enjoyable Summer Ball held at Harleyford Golf Club. Mark Stokes and his team are now busy organising this year’s event to be held in September at the Crowne Plaza. 

The Club supper saw our outgoing President, Sir Francis Ferris in fine form, the longest Captain’s speech in living memory (well mine anyway) and an excellent and informed speech by our guest of honour, Maurice Hayes. Natasha Smith and Mike Mounsden were recipients of the Sharp and Coombes trophy awards to recognise their contributions to the Club. 

The Regatta day and Barbeque held for the “First Row Challenge” was a superb day with Sarah Winckless kindly presenting the prizes and plans are already underway for this year’s event. 

During the year there were a number of other well supported social events and my thanks to Peter Hunt and the rest of the Bar Committee for the excellent work they perform.  

People – some special thanks

My thanks again to Natasha Smith and her team for organising the club catering and with the surplus profit generated making a significant contribution to the catering equipment fund. With the assistance of her funds we now have a superbly refurbished kitchen.

I must single out for a special mention Peter Hunt for his overall effort on behalf of the Club. In addition to his role as Bar secretary he continued as Membership Secretary and then agreed to act as Safety officer. This is an enormous contribution to the Club which I hope is fully appreciated by all members. Peter even helped us out with towing boats to the 8’s head when he was supposed to be tank driving that day! 

Nick Hoare has had an extremely traumatic year as Premises manager dealing with numerous break ins and burglaries. He has dealt with them ably and even found the time to assist in the police apprehending one of the culprit’s. He organised another highly successful work day and the Club is looking pretty tidy – lets try and keep it that way.

Peter Hepworth, the Club Boatman, has again repaired numerous boats damaged at the Club. Whilst it is fair to say that a lot of the damage has arisen due to racing accidents such as the “Titanic like” sinking of Rowers Revenge, a good deal has been caused by the negligent handling of boats by a large number of Members, some of whom should know better. Peter has borne this task with resigned fortitude but I would ask members to try and exercise a lot more care and attention when handling boats and blades.


Again I must pay tribute to all those members, and in particular Peter Blaseby, who have devoted much of their time in organising Race events, Regattas and social functions. Through their efforts they have provided a very valuable source of revenue for the Club and some fun along the way.

Sponsors

I mentioned earlier in my report the financial strength of the Club and again I am indebted to the generous financial support received from Hamptons, HSBC, Lewis Chambers and Vantis. We have also been in discussion with Marlow Town Regatta in respect of the provision of a safety launch and further equipment sponsorship such as the Starters tent. 

Committee changes

With the AGM approaching there are a number of farewells to be made.

As indicated at last year’s AGM Sir Francis Ferris, our President, will retire and we will be seeking a replacement. Francis has served on the Committee as Captain (1957), Chairman for 15 years (1971 to 1986) and as President since 1992. By my calculations that amounts to some 30 years working on behalf of the Club which is a remarkable achievement. He has been a stalwart of the Club and we have all appreciated and benefited from his wisdom and counsel. Francis will be a very difficult act to follow but Bill Findlay has kindly indicated his willingness to serve and I hope he will receive your full support.

I am sure you will all join me in wishing Francis a very happy retirement although we do expect to see him at various Club occasions in the future.

Tom McGibbon has also, reluctantly, decided to stand down as Captain since it was proving impossible for Tom to combine full time training and running a business with that of Captaincy. We must respect Tom’s decision and wish him well going forward – hopefully to a medal at this year’s Henley. Bret King has agreed to return as Captain for one further year whilst we groom a successor and again I hope you are able to fully support Bret at the AGM.

Pam Smith stepped down as Welfare Secretary during the year and she has been replaced by Wendy Humphrey. The role of Welfare Secretary is an important position and we are fortunate that someone as well qualified as Wendy in this area was prepared to stand.

My thanks to all other Main Committee and Sub Committee members who have supported me throughout the year and made my job easy. (well most of the time!)


In conclusion we have had another great year but in the future we should not expect this as a “matter of right”. For Marlow Rowing Club to maintain it’s pre-eminent position we desperately need “fresh blood” to assist the members who already give an enormous amount of time and effort at various events, in running the club and providing financial support. I have considerable concerns that the bulk of the work falls upon the shoulders of a few, and with no disrespect intended to them, ageing group. Mike Densley has highlighted to the Committee the potential lack of Umpires in the future and with Peter Blaseby standing down as Marlow Spring and Fours and Pairs organiser there is another huge gap to fill. Peter has embodied the selfless attitude of those members who have given time to the Club and it is now for other members to step forward and take up the challenge.

We need helpers for this summer’s regatta’s that bear our name and for the First Row Challenge and Rowers Revenge. I would ask you not to let me down but to provide your full support to this great Club.

Ian Hewitt 
June 2007

2006


It seems only a few moments ago that I was meeting with Peter Hunt, my predecessor, to understand what the “job” of Marlow Rowing Club Chairman entailed.

A year has now passed as I prepare my annual report and I look forward to meeting the Members at the AGM who will no doubt let me know how I have performed!

I am pleased to report that it has been another extremely successful year for the Club both on and off the water.

Our outgoing Captain, Bret King, will detail our competitive successes and our Treasurer, Jackie Thoeming, the financial strength of the Club, in their respective reports. However, I will take the opportunity to highlight that Club Members competing at Junior, Senior and Veteran level have all again excelled and it has been an honour to be associated with those achievements.

Throughout the year I have been reminded by how well Marlow Rowing Club is perceived in the World of Rowing. It was a great pleasure for me to spend the evening with Zac Purchase and Sarah Winckless at the Annual Club Supper and to learn of their achievements and Zac explained how proud he was to be associated with Marlow Rowing Club. It is indeed a tribute to his and Sarah’s dedication to the sport that despite the abundance of wine on the President’s table they both performed superbly the following day at the National Indoor Rowing Championships.

In addition to the Club Supper I have attended a number of excellent social events such as the Riverboat Shuffle (complete with sub zero August temperatures), Burns Night (worst hangover of the year!), and the New Members Evening. All of the social events have been organised by enthusiastic Club Members who were keen to raise as much money for the Club as possible at the same time as having a good time. They succeeded on both counts. My thanks to them and I would ask all members to support the forthcoming Dinner Dance Fundraiser in September being organised by Mark Stokes and his social committee. At this point I should also mention special word of thanks to Natasha Smith and her team for organising the club catering and with the surplus profit generated making a significant contribution to the catering equipment fund.

I would also like to pay tribute to those members who have devoted much of their time in organising Race events and Regattas. Again they have provided a very valuable source of revenue to the Club and their effort should not go unrecognised. There are too many to name for fear of missing some off the list but my thanks to all of them.

I mentioned earlier in my report the financial strength of the Club and am pleased to announce that a major sponsorship with Hampton International was concluded during the year. I look forward to a long relationship with this Company and my thanks also to all Club supporters and sponsors. Within the annual report Members will have a detailed account of the Club’s financial position and the surplus for the year.

Whilst I fully accept that the Club is a “not for profit” organisation, in my view it is essential to build financial reserves for the future. Whilst the Club benefits from a significant boat stock with an insured value in excess of £250K it is necessary to keep updating and improving this equipment. The Club has benefited from indivdual donations during the year that has enabled an “eight” and a “double” to be purchased. I have respected the donors’ wishes to keep these donations “low key” but I must formally express thanks on behalf of the Club for their generosity. Additionally the Club at junior level has received sponsorship support from Lewis Chambers, Financial Advisers enabling a new coaching launch to be acquired and Project Oarsome “t” shirts. None the less a significant amount of our surplus has been spent on the Boat stock.

Likewise the Committee has embarked upon refurbishment and improvement to the Clubhouse and its facilities. The Club benefited during the year from a very generous donation of new flooring to the bar and gym areas and is in the process of organising a full refurbishment to the kitchen. All of these expenditures were necessary and I trust are well received by the Members. The “Work Day” I believe was a huge success which assisted greatly in improving the general upkeep of the Club and I hope to repeat this event in future years which will help to keep maintenance costs down.

Beyond however immediate boat renewals and Clubhouse refurbishment key decisions must be taken going forward. With Sir William Borlase moving from the Club we have been able to acquire further boats and reorganised the Boathouse. However, if Members want Marlow Rowing Club to maintain its pre-eminent role within the sport, further improvements and enlargement of the facilities will need to be considered.

During my year as Chairman I asked all sections of the Club through the Rowing Subcommittee to formulate their own strategy documents. All of these strategy documents were consistent in they wished to maintain competitive objectives and improve upon their achievements to date.

Likewise as part of the Legacy 2006 ARA Initiative the Club were asked to attend various meetings and to act as a “Benchmark” or “Pilot” Club. The ARA is committed to attracting more participants into the sport which will again create greater demands on the existing Club. The Club has lead the way in running highly successful junior and adult novice courses and would wish for this to continue with the ARA’s support.

It is with this continued success in mind that I am asking members for their views on an expansion of these facilities at the Club. Any Committee to embark upon such a project need the Members mandate and it is therefore vitally  important that we receive your views. The Club is blessed with talented athletes and coaches alike; it is essential that we, as a Club, provide the infrastructure and facilities to assist them. Please therefore contact me to pass on your views whatever they may be. Assuming I am re-elected as Chairman I will be establishing a working party to review the various options moving forward.

With the AGM approaching there are a number of farewells to be made.

Mike Mounsdon has been Club Secretary for forty years and retires at this AGM. Mike has been a stalwart of the Club and has performed his role diligently and in a quiet, efficient and understated way. He will be an impossible act to follow but Ian Pike has kindly put himself forward for the role and I hope he will receive all Members support. On behalf of the Club I would like to thank Mike and his family for all the work he has done over the years.

Quiet and understated are not attributes I would necessarily use to describe our outgoing Captain, Bret King. Bret has handled at times a difficult job with a firm fairness and has not shied away from decisions. He now wishes to concentrate on his coaching and I must respect that decision but I believe he will be sorely missed. Again we are blessed with an “heir apparent”  in Tom McGibbon and I am sure you will all give him your full support.

Finally I would like to complete my report by paying tribute to my Committee who have supported me during the year and by hoping that all Members enjoy what promises to be an exciting summer of regattas culminating in the World Championships at Dorney Lake in August.

Ian Hewitt
June 2006

Results

I'm very pleased to say that the club's racing crews have continued their winning ways, with a total of 106 wins so far this year. This is a fantastic performance, one which we should all be proud of, and with a busy racing schedule still to go we look set to record our most successful season in recent years. Following on from the fire less than a year ago this is a huge achievement and a testament to the hard work of the crews, coaches and all of the supporters.

Dear Club Member,

I thought I’d drop you a line to let you know about some of the things that are happening on the rowing side (Ed already does an excellent job of keeping you up to date with committee stuff).

Captain's Report
2007

It has been another successful if not eventful year for the club which continues to go from strength to strength. In fact as far as I can tell, all areas of the club seem to be flourishing! No mean feat when you consider the awful conditions we have experienced for most of the winter. Due to the early timing of the AGM this year I am unable to provide a complete report of the year as the main events of the regatta season have yet to take place. By the time you read this I am hoping everyone associated with the club will be celebrating our victories at Marlow International, Women’s Henley, Henley Royal and the National Championships! Well here’s hoping anyway ;)

The start of the season kicked of with the clubs inaugural First Row challenge which saw teams of complete novices of all shapes and sizes compete over a short course by the club. The event was a great success and of particular note were an exceptional All Girls crew who made the final under the slightly misleading name of Tom’s Totty! In fact three of that crew have progressed into the ladies development squad (well done Amy, Sally and Caroline) and a number of other competitors also caught the bug.

There has definitely been an upsurge in new athletes taking to the sport this year, thanks to the continued efforts Jackie Thoeming, Sally Reay, Lisa Knill and of course everyone associated with Project Oarsome and the Junior Development squad (Richard Robinson, Ray Swordy and Colin Picton) rowing certainly seems to be a cool sport these days! Let’s make sure this years First Row is another great success.

Ian has already mentioned the successes of our international athletes which continues to inspire all areas of the club. We have some definite stars of the future though in the Lovedays and the Mottrams. Steph had a fantastic trip down under in January representing GB in the youth Olympics and came away with an amazing 3 gold medals to add to her 2 from the Coupe. James and David fresh from a successful home countries campaign have also been working very hard behind the scenes and narrowly missed selection for the GB squad in the U23 Ltwts, but proved their talent recently at The Met Regatta only just being pipped by the selected GB double. Good effort boys! All three athletes ultimately have been struck down with illness or injury at very key times of the season and so have narrowly missed out on GB this year, but mark my words, they will be back leaner and meaner next year aiming for that all important GB vest.

Once again we have an outstanding group of juniors at the club, some of which are also pushing hard for international colours. Steph’s younger brother Mikey and Jack Hockley are definitely in with a shout, as is Sophie Pain from the girl’s side. By far the most successful crew of the season of the whole club has been the girls J16 4x of Cordelia Wilson, Phoebe Lucas, Alice Denyer and Rachel Finnis who won gold at the Junior National Scullers Head and Gold at National Schools Regatta, with Phoebe and Cordelia also doubling up to take gold in the double as well. As always the list of wins is seemingly endless from within the junior squad – a testament to the setup and the coaching efforts led by Russell and Brett with expert assistance from Joff Spencer-Jones and Roy Prosser 

The senior squads have probably been hit the hardest by the weather this season, with training regularly being disrupted and crews not able to get below the lock for their usual long outings. The weather affected the senior men so badly that every head race was cancelled up to the 8’s head this year. As most of you already know, even this race was abandoned but not before the first 8 was allowed to start and then promptly sink. Many thanks to the lifeguards who picked us up safe and sound if not a little cold and wet! This was particularly disappointing for me as we had managed to put together the pick of the junior squad athletes into a novice 8 which I’m sure would have done exceptionally well. Hopefully next year lads! The season had started out fairly promisingly with a win in the Pairs Head for myself and Rob Downie, and a second place in the fours head. But morale definitely dropped with the lack of racing. Thankfully the squad have turned a big corner and things are looking very good for Henley now thanks to the continued efforts of John Stephenson, Maurice and Sean.

The ladies of Marlow are also having a promising season although they will have to deal with the loss of probably their most consistent outstanding member of recent years. Well done to Claire Haley for all her efforts and I’m sure you’ll all join me in wishing her the very best in her new role as a young mother! Congratulations to Russ and Claire. Back to the water there have been some good wins across the board for pretty much all the athletes and expect a strong showing at Womens Henley from the lightweight quad and a composite double with last years winner Tash Wase on board.

Even the Veteran Squad seems to be getting bigger, with some noticeable class new athletes making the switch – John Tetley and Richard (crab man) Aplin have certainly been missed this year from the senior mens squad. Although not so Daisy’s banter ;) The demand for boats for this group of guys is also getting more and more intense. This year will see the clubs largest entry at the World Championships in Zagreb this September – good luck guys!

As Ian noted in his report I will be standing down after only one year as the Captain of Marlow Rowing Club. I’m afraid the stress of competing while trying to run the club was too much to take on at this stage of my life. In an ideal world I would have liked to have served a number of years as Captain but having thought long and hard over this I had to come to a decision about my own future. It has filled me with an enormous sense of pride to be the Captain of this great club as I’m sure past Captains can vouch for. Thanks to Brett for offering to take over in the short term while a suitable candidate can be found for the continued successful future of the club.

Tom McGibbon 
July 2007