Water-tight friendships

It’s always nice when old friends come back to visit and that was certainly the case for the members of Weybridge Ladies Amateur Rowing Club (WLARC) a couple of weeks ago.

IT’S ALWAYS nice when old friends come back to visit and that was certainly the case for the members of Weybridge Ladies Amateur Rowing Club (WLARC) a couple of weeks ago.

On Sunday , October 20, five WLARC members who competed in the coxed fours event in the 1980 Moscow Olympics, came back to the club for a reunion row.  Two of them had also rowed in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.

Joanne Toch, Belinda Holmes, Kate Panter,  Jane Cross and cox  Andrea Jones were given a warm welcome back to the club where they learned their rowing technique and the four rowers jumped into a WLARC boat for a memorable jaunt back out on the river.

(Andrea showed up slightly later so the four was coxed by current Weybridge member Elaine Green).

I think that’s one of the abiding things that come out of river-based sport and activity – friendships that are formed in the thick of the action stay strong in later life and it’s fantastic to see those relationships continue long after the competitive rowing/sailing/fishing/dragon boating has ended.

Well done ladies – it just goes to show what a lovely friendly club WLARC is.

BEHIND every sporting success there is usually a whole raft of people who contribute – often generously giving of their own time and energy  – to ensure that members of their club or association have the best training, the best facilities and the best chance to make their mark in whatever is their chosen discipline.

So I was absolutely delighted this week to hear that Alan Woolford from Shepperton had been given the Disability Sports Award at the Spelthorne Sports Awards, which took place recently at the Orangery in Shepperton Studios.

The award was in recognition for Alan’s hard work and enthusiasm, over many years, for disabled sailing.

Alan, who is the Royal Yachting Association regional chairman, is also the head of the Queen Mary Sailing Club Sailability Group, which focuses its activities on special needs schools, adult special needs groups such as the MS Society, and individual sailors.

RYA Sailability is the leading UK charity for disabled sailing and is the official charity of the RYA.

I know Alan has been working hard behind the scenes for many years to give disabled people – both young and old – the opportunity to get into a boat and try sailing.

This award is extremely well merited and I’d like to offer my congratulations to Alan and thanks for his dedication to the cause.

I KNOW it’s a month away, but make a note in your diaries that the next meeting of River Users’ Group 8 (the RUG covering the stretch of the Thames from Teddington up to Bell Weir Lock) will be taking place at the Thames Motor Yacht Club at the Green, Hampton Court on Thursday, November 28 starting at 8pm.

These meetings are an opportunity for you to listen to the people who manage the river – the EA, the police, and a host of local groups – to find out what’s going on. And it also gives you the chance to raise any concerns.

They are always lively, friendly meetings so do come along if you can.

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