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Annual Dinner and Awards Ceremony

HRC celebrated its athletes at its annual dinner and awards ceremony on Saturday.

About 65 rowers, coaches and committee members were in attendance. Committee member John Gelling hosted the evening and Steve O’Connor, chief executive of the River & Rowing Museum, presented three awards.

Louisa Clarke, one of our trustees, gave a speech which she singled out Nick Friend for giving our website a makeover earlier this year.

She said: “If you go on the home page, you will see it says ‘Nurturing inclusive rowing for all and supporting competitive aspirations’.

“While we recognise the success of our athletes, we have to pay tribute to our coaches who give a huge amount of time and energy, day in, day out, and I just want to say a massive thank you to them for their effort.” Louisa also thanked volunteers, secretary Margaret Hall and the organisers of the evening.

John Gelling described senior man of the year Elliot Cole as “an individual who embodies the spirit, dedication, commitment and leadership that lies at the heart of the club”.

He said junior woman of the year Emily Simmons was “a fantastic athlete to work within the squad and her team attitude and work ethic are examples for all those around her”.

Louis Bolton’s coach, Tony Bailes, handed him the junior man of the year award for his unwavering work ethic, even after he lost his seat during a competition due to a snapped steering component.

Mr O’Connor, former chief executive of Fulham Reach Rowing Club, praising the Henley club’s accomplishments. He said: “You should not underestimate the importance of what you do as a club because you do have an active and successful membership at every level.

“Frankly, British Rowing and everybody within the country should be looking at this as an example, because you have a highly competitive junior section, a senior section that is semi-finaling and finaling and winning Henley Royal and you have master’s and junior master’s sections that are doing more.

“You have multiple generations of rowers doing fantastic things and I think the secret to that is what Henley does really well, which is you keep it fun and competitive.

“It’s not just about the very top tier smashing out win after win, it’s about the whole club being fun and competitive at every level.”

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