Commodore’s Report 2015 – Richard Hendron
The year 2014 marked 70 years in the Richmond Canoe Clubs History. In those seventy years the club has changed beyond recognition. In October 1944 in a meeting next door which was then the three pigeons pub, It was resolved to “lay the foundations for a club which will foster and encourage the interest of canoeist in the London area”. Richmond Canoe Club was born.
As to be expected, The club has moved on a long way since its foundation. What is not nessicarily expected though is the rate of change the club has gone through in the last 10 years. The rate of change in the last 10 years has been thenominal both in the operation and infrastructure.
We sit here today in a modern club house, with priceless views and in a remarkable and special location. Quite simply Richmond Canoe Clubs clubhouse is second to none. The last 10 years has not only seen the modernization of the club house but the purchase of the freehold, that in effect gave Richmond Canoe Club financial stability and secured its future for generations to come.
Our membership figures are as healthy as they have ever been and we have significantly more rack space then we did 10 years ago.
Its hard to think that a little over 10 years ago we struggled to pay the bills, and I am sure Hazel can recount times that we had to hold of paying bills as we did not have sufficient funds in the bank account to cover then. However that was then, this is now. Ten years on we have significant reserve funds, with a healthy yearly income. The accounts that we see today mark the healthiest position that Richmond Canoe Club has ever been in, in part a testament to the diligence that our treasurer Hazel has shown.
A little over 10 years ago there was barely a coaching structure at Richmond Canoe Club. As an example, when I joined as a junior the entry route was with Peter Barnes, which is where all people who entered the club came through, as this was the case for many years. (I am sure this in part explains my poor paddling technique) Ten years on we now have an impressive and slick coaching structure for the novice adults and juniors. The junior coaching structure led by Tim Middlehurst and supported by the likes of Mick Fegeant, Tony W, John Rac, Jeff Lindsay to name a few – is a well oiled and rehearsed machine now, that enables all juniors to achieve their best. We are now seeing the rewards of the hard work of the junior coaching structure with the likes Joe Webb, and others coming through to national level. The junior sections is exceptionally healthy and my thanks goes to all the junior coaches who devote so much of their time to making the junior section an ever growing success.
Not only is there now structure amongst the junior section, but there is a good and working structure for the new adults joining the club. No longer are people subjected to Peter Barnes for two years as I was, but now there is an established 5 week novice course and post this a clear progression structure for novice adults. Again, the success of the novice coaching structure is down to the relentless hard work that all the volunteer coaches put in. My special thanks for leading the novice coaching section goes to Jemmim Johnston and her team which includes the likes of Corrail, Ian Clark, Tom Walker to name a few.
The elite end is overseen by Steve Baker, who has put together a training program that is providing structure and focus for many to follow, that extends far beyond the elite end.
The canoe section, while still only a fraction of the size of the Kayak section, is growing and becoming more structured now with regular times allotted for novices to turn up and come and try it. Where there was one there is now three. Marcus Ghohar is now supported by Louise Phillips and David Leach who are helping to provide much needed structure to the Canoe Section.
So a lot has changed in ten years. We are richer, have an established and working coaching structure that produces results, We have healthy membership, more boat space and better facilities. This can only mean one thing – Better results.
Last year was the best results that I have seen in my 20 years at RCC, and arguably the best ever in the clubs 70 year history. There are simply too many individual results to list here. We won best club for both the interclub regatta and the Hasler finals, a tremendous feat, and without doubt down to the hard work of all the many club coaches. We saw many national champions both in Sprint and Marathon, and we continued to dominate and achieve in the other non standard races such as the Liffey, Watersides, Avon, Thamessides.
Again this year saw us show not just real presence on the international circuit, but also performance. As it is now frequent, a special mention must go the Duracell bunny that is Lizzy Broughton, she must have has a recharge as this year she stormed the international paddling scene. She finished 2nd in K1 at the World Championship in Oklahoma, 2nd in K1 at Europeans and 3rd in K2 at Europeans. She was first in Amsterdam Waterlands Marathon and triple national champion over here. A truly outstanding year for Lizzy and a proud year for the club.
Not only did the last year mark our best results ever, it was also the year that Richmond stopped being a club on the sidelines but rather a club that led from the front and a club that proved its credibility and silenced the naysayers or doubters. I am of course talking about the Hasler Finals. In the two previous years we had made a bid for the hasler finals. There was off course concern amongst the marathon racing committee as we had never held a national event. However when we kept on coming back they realized that we were not going to go away and eventually awarded us with the running the Hasler Finals. As you will know that hasler final went without event, and this was made possible by the countless volunteers. It demonstrated Richmond Canoe Club at its finest – Richmond Canoe Club members coming together and working in unity. We put on a truly incredible performance and display and one that has no doubt significantly improved the standing and reputation of Richmond Canoe Club. This would not have been possible without one man, taking the helm, providing leadership and drive and putting his all into it – My sincere and complete thanks goes to William Abson for the most tremendous job he did in putting together and successfully pulling off the Hasler Final.
The Hasler final I would describe as the icing on the cake capping of what was a truly fantastic year across the board, a year where the word best resonates time and time again, it was a truly fitting year to mark our 70th Anniversary.
The icing on the cake would not be complete without some decoration. It will come as no surprise to announce that the commodores award this year, for his truly remarkable efforts in running and organizing the hasler finals goes to Will Abson.