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Tim and Sue Middlehurst

After 4 and a half years of junior coaching at Richmond Canoe Club Tim and Sue Middlehurst have decided to take a break. Tim’s wrist operation prompted by damage caused by falling off his bike a year ago, Sue’s forthcoming shoulder operation prompted by a lot of paddling, and a two stage wedding, in Byfleet and in Texas have all contributed to their decision.

Over the last 4 years or so, Tim and Sue have been the driving force behind the introduction and lower Division development of most of the current junior kayaks, at the 2014 Hasler Final there were 33 Richmond juniors; of these 15 (Div 9 up to Div 3) and 14 (Lightnings) started with Tim & Sue. And their influence extended beyond the juniors: many parents started their paddling by joining in with one of Tim’s groups. Established paddlers such as John Rac and Jeff Lindsay seeing that Tim could do with assistance offered themselves as helpers, and, having served their apprenticeship, became Junior coaches themselves.

Tim’s trailer loading and towing enabled such a large number of juniors to go to Wey Hare & Hounds and other regular races across the region. Between races Tim could be found on the water taking groups or individual juniors training every day. The sheer volume of junior kayaks on the water spread across many groups, on Saturday mornings especially, has been hugely impressive. Sue managed to juggle her own training, including the last two Devizes to Westminster races, with coaching juniors who had already progressed beyond the novice groups Tim was looking after. Sue regularly attended the national regattas at Nottingham to introduce and develop her paddlers’ skill in sprint racing.

Richmond Canoe Club are lucky to have had such dedicated service from Tim and Sue, and we now have to adjust our coaching structure to maintain the high standard they have both set. The club would like to thank Tim and Sue for all their input, and hope to see them both back on the water sometime in the near future.