‘Time is right to invest in rowing’

‘Time is right to invest in rowing’

Zac Purchase

Ken Lester

First published in Wallingford Herald Series: Photograph of the Author by , Crime Reporter, also covering Barton and Wood Farm. Call me on (01865) 425427

ROWERS say the time is ripe to invest in the sport in Wallingford to create a lasting legacy of the Olympic Games.

Town resident Zac Purchase, 26, won a silver medal in the men’s lightweight double sculls final at Eton Dorney last Saturday.

Katie Greves, 29, also from Wallingford, and Lindsey Maguire, 30, of Wallingford Rowing Club, came fifth in the women’s eight race.

In all, Britons won four golds, two silvers, and three bronze medals.

The 300-strong Thames Street club is now hoping the sport’s peak in popularity will help it reach its £300,000 appeal target to build a new gym.

Katharine Tuite, a spokesman for Wallingford Rowing Club, said: “Wallingford should really be a rowing destination as we have one of the best stretches of water in the country.

“Wallingford has done incredibly well but it would be good to have the facilities to support future athletes as well as athletes who train there at the moment.”

Club captain Caroline Greves, said: “It’s great to have a Wallingford member representing GB at the Olympics and hopefully it will inspire not just existing members but also others who now want to try the sport.”

Ken Lester, 65, who took part in the Rome Olympics in 1960 as a rowing cox aged just 13, said the sport was on a high.

He explained: “You only have to watch some of these finals and the success they were getting, it’s terrific.”

But he said the club needed the facilities to accommodate the increasing popularity of the sport.

Town mayor Ros Lester, Mr Lester’s wife and member of the club, said: “They are an absolute inspiration to our youngsters.”

She said the sport was getting bigger, with more women taking part, adding: “It’s definitely a growing sport.”

But she said the club needed cash to build the new gym, adding: “We are desperately trying to raise money and get the planning sorted.

“It’s falling down, it’s being held together with string. We want a nice new one.”

The rowing club is offering ‘Learn to Row’ taster courses for 18 to 30-year-olds this month. Contact Christy Job at christy.job@britishrowing.org

Comments (3)

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4:42pm Wed 8 Aug 12

Wallingford2 says...

Shame the rowing club never actually seem to do anything to help raise funds.They were contacted several times to take part in town events to help,no response.Unless people know about them, do they think money will appear out of thin air?!?!?
Shame the rowing club never actually seem to do anything to help raise funds.They were contacted several times to take part in town events to help,no response.Unless people know about them, do they think money will appear out of thin air?!?!? Wallingford2
  • Score: 1

1:32pm Mon 13 Aug 12

exWally says...

Wallingford2 I have to take issue with your comment about the club helping to raise funds. The club itself runs a number of events which are very successful money-raising events, and have also contributed to delivery of town events such as the Carnival in the past. Sorry if your email got lost in the mix; we've been pretty busy recently. The regatta itself involves a year-round effort to organise, culminating in the largest one-day rowing regatta in Europe at Dorney every May. The club is 99% run by unpaid volunteers who support athletes that compete at junior and senior levels all the way up to and including full international level. All this article suggests is that the town and it's residents might continue to support its efforts as we introduce more people to the sport as we identify and support athletes aiming for Rio 2016 and beyond.
Wallingford2 I have to take issue with your comment about the club helping to raise funds. The club itself runs a number of events which are very successful money-raising events, and have also contributed to delivery of town events such as the Carnival in the past. Sorry if your email got lost in the mix; we've been pretty busy recently. The regatta itself involves a year-round effort to organise, culminating in the largest one-day rowing regatta in Europe at Dorney every May. The club is 99% run by unpaid volunteers who support athletes that compete at junior and senior levels all the way up to and including full international level. All this article suggests is that the town and it's residents might continue to support its efforts as we introduce more people to the sport as we identify and support athletes aiming for Rio 2016 and beyond. exWally
  • Score: 0

2:28pm Fri 24 Aug 12

nickd2 says...

Wallingford Regatta used to be one of the main annual events in the town and a spectacle enjoyed by many. Moving it to Eton may be good for the sport but it sends strong signals that the club has turned its back on the town.

It might be helpful if "Wallingford Regatta" was called something more relevant and the club organised another event on the river in Wallingford which engaged with the town.
Wallingford Regatta used to be one of the main annual events in the town and a spectacle enjoyed by many. Moving it to Eton may be good for the sport but it sends strong signals that the club has turned its back on the town. It might be helpful if "Wallingford Regatta" was called something more relevant and the club organised another event on the river in Wallingford which engaged with the town. nickd2
  • Score: 0

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