Commodore’s Report at 2012 AGM
Commodore’s Report on 2011
2011 will, of course, be remembered as the year that Will Carus lost his life at the Richmond Hasler race. This was an accident that shook both the club and the sport. Much introspection and analysis went into what happened on that fateful day. As I was drawn into the ensuing investigations, I was heartened to see that we as a club had performed all our duties and met all our required responsibilities. My particular respect goes to Richard Hendron who handled a very difficult situation with great professionalism.
Ever the bedrock of the club, our competitive standards remain high. Lizzie continues to dominate British and International marathon racing. At National level she is joined as reigning National Marathon Champion by six of our juniors – namely Marko, Harry, Ellie, Alex, Rebecca and Ali. At Sprint Nationals, Marko again led a Richmond charge of four champions, namely Harry, Rebecca and Ali.Devizes to Westminster was another perennial dominant Richmond showing, the Blue Ribband Senior K2 and the Senior Team titles were among this year’s Richmond haul. And this year our older Juniors have begun to mature into strong racers, four of them having just returned from Belguim where they raced in GB colours – Romain, Romain and Khlaf are clearly names that we will become even more familiar with in the coming years. You have heard ‘Martin’ before!
But the real happenings this year have been on the coaching front. Building on the resolution that we adopted at last year’s AGM, we now have a sub-contracted coaching provider. In that role Ollie Harding has been quite brilliant in drawing together the various, sometimes disparate, groups into a coherent system. While this is still an ongoing process, the feeling of energy and excitement among the club coaches is palpable. And by extension, their groups are busy, even oversubscribed, and the club is operating at capacity. As the biggest club in the country, that is an achievement that we can all be proud of. A lot of money and effort went into creating this facility and it is a joy to see it so in demand.
Elite race coaching has developed and evolved a great deal this year. Led by Ollie and assisted by Brendon we are moving closer to coach-led training rather than our previous paddler-led approach. This is one area where we hope to make even more progress in the coming year.
In adult coaching, the evergreen Peter Barnes continues to progress many paddlers to their very high aspirations. Also on the adult front, Jemima, Coralie, Claudia and Ian run thriving groups. And with the exploding junior scene, Tim M, Sue, Tony and Mick are all blazing trails with their respective groups.
Marcus, tasked with establishing Richmond as a centre of excellence in canoe paddling has… excelled! So much so that he may well be about to see his own 24 year old DW record fall – to a Richmond paddler!
Well done to all who have contributed so much to this vital area of club activity.
If the health of the club is evident in the racing and the coaching, then that must surely derive in some small way from the guidance of an energetic and representative management committee. The committee is formed almost entirely of active, vocal and committed paddlers. With the fear of omission I will do the dangerous thing make a special mention of Freddie and Tim K for their especial vigor with the fabric our our facility. Our thanks go to Maggie who departs her role having brought happy stability to the galley. Great credit must go to both Maggie herself and all the volunteers that she so gracefully press-ganged into serving their fellow members. Peter H steps down after an impressive eight years as Publicity Secretary. Ian exits to spend more time paddling, a wise move, while Geoff will be sailing off into an Australian sunset, an even wiser move!
It is a joy to work with people who are passionate and vocal, it may make for some long meetings but we do cover ground! To all of the committee of 2011, many thanks.
Commodore’s Award: This is my tenth award and I always intended this choice of recipients to be my final presentation. Yes it is two recipients, all will become clear. The committee position that is the least portable must surely be that of Treasurer. Financial and Management accounts have a kind of ‘local knowledge’ that make them difficult to transfer from person to person. We have been incredibly fortunate to have enjoyed twenty-four years of consistency in that role. I am so very grateful to Hazel Greasby for the stability and consistency that she has brought to the club.
The second balancing part of this year’s award is a personal tribute. We have achieved a great deal here in the last ten years, we have gone from insecure tenant in a run-down building to freehold owners in a magnificent facility. That has happened because the many tasks involved have been carried so well by so many excellent people. As I have done my bit over that decade, I have been fortunate to have had a valued advisor. He has sat on my shoulder though all of those times. I have dubbed him the invisible Commodore. My thanks go to Colin Greasby for his wisdom and his guidance.
We go into 2012 with a thriving club, vibrant groups enjoying what we are here for – that is; paddling our boats, racing our races and enjoying the whole experience. Long may it continue!