STRATFORD-upon-Avon Boat Club paddled their way through the Easter weekend buoyed by a generous donation from The Rotary Club.
Returning to the water for the first time since lockdown restrictions were eased last week, club members were able to enjoy the sight of familiar faces again – combined with good weather – as boats were filled and oars were picked up once more.
With the feel-good factor already in the air, the presentation of a £400 cheque from the town’s Rotary Club helped improve the mood even more so – the funds going towards supporting Stratford and its members as operations slowly begin to pick up in the coming months.
Having seen off some difficult months since the turn of the year, Stratford Boat Club’s President Paul Stanton admits the act of selflessness goes a long way.
“The substantial donation to our club’s funds from The Rotary Club is most welcome,” he said.
“Financially and mentally, this has been a very challenging year for Stratford Boat Club and its members. However, we are very aware how lucky we are compared to so many other people and organisations.
“The donation is part of Rotary’s far-reaching charitable outreach to Stratford’s and Warwickshire’s communities.
“Our donation came from the entry monies from the last two cancelled Shakespeare Rotary Marathons, which runners had left, with Stratford Rotary to distribute as they felt fit rather than ask for a refund.”
For Steve Wellstead, a junior co-ordinator for Stratford’s 17 and 18 junior sides, the sight of members putting themselves through the motions on the water for the first time this year was a welcome one.
“Seeing our young athletes back on the water this week has been immensely heartening,” he added.
“The squad athletes have followed their coaches’ home training exercise plans during the lockdown periods, with Stratford Boat Club lending out their static rowers to members so that they could their keep up and exceed their physical fitness targets.
“Having seen performances to date, our athletes have kept themselves trim – getting back to sport has also contributed much to all of our mental wellbeing.”
Going forward, the two clubs are hoping to collaborate for the Shakespeare Rotary Marathon and Half Marathon next year, with plans for a Stratford inter-club regatta at the end of 2021.