THE LAST few months have been torrid for Stratford Boat Club which has endured floods, a fast flowing river, no water rowing and cancelled heads.
The next few months promise to be even more testing for those involved as the United Kingdom battles Coronavirus and the club’s thoughts go out to all those brave souls who provide the country and region with essential medical, welfare and community services, provisions and comfort at massive risk to themselves.
Club spokesman Chris Best said: “Our challenges pale into insignificance compared to those around us who have lost their jobs and seen their incomes evaporate. We at Stratford Boat Club are lucky in that we have our health and the club ‘community’.
“Maintaining members’ physical and mental health has been at the forefront of the club’s senior management team’s thoughts and forethought saw the club’s many static rowing machines distributed to members on a ‘first come’ basis before the country’s lockdown and the club compiled with closing the doors.
“Members have found innovative ways of keeping fit and keeping themselves busy with some serious home exercise ranging from press-ups in the back garden to redeveloping the garden shed into a much-missed temporary ‘pub’, taking online courses to hone sport, work and personal skills and to achieve a certain amount of ‘inner calm’.”
Abi Terry, J15 coach, said: “The J15s and other squads have home training plans set by their coaches thanks to the club for lending ergos to our members and we also have our athletes on bike rides, doing online video workouts such as pilates, yoga and core circuits and we have a weekly ‘What3Words’ orienteering course which quite a few of our athletes are doing with their families.
“These are all set in and around Stratford but the courses are deliberately set so nobody comes into contact with anyone else and if they see anyone else they can easily social distance themselves.
“We are all most grateful to our coach colleague Trevor for setting these and sticking strictly to the outdoor exercise and social distancing protocols.”
Some good news for Stratford Boat Club is that the rescue and support launch for the club’s growing adaptive squad has arrived and has been delivered by manufacturers to the UK distributor.
This is thanks to the hard work, fund-raising and negotiation of Stratford’s lead adaptive coach Mark Dewdney.
He said: “With her bow ramp, recoveries will be so much easier, especially for the more vulnerable members.
“This is going to enhance the adaptive squad’s capabilities and safety protocols immensely. Sadly, we’re going to have to be patient and wait until it is delivered to our good riverside friends at Avon Boating for commissioning and testing.”
Paul Stanton, president of Stratford Boat Club, said: “It is times like this we realise how lucky we are not only to have our health but also the club community.
“Rowing is so much more than just a sport – it’s the camaraderie and spirit of those around us helping, coaching and running the club for the benefit of all.
“The senior management team has been sending out regular bulletins and there is general pastoral care with members contacting each other and especially checking on the more elderly members.”