Banks Group grant is stroke of luck for ambitious Cambois Rowers

November 17, 2010 | Cambois News

A thriving Northumberland rowing club are looking forward to a successful second century after a five-figure grant from a north east firm paid for two new racing boats.

Members of Cambois Rowing Club, which celebrates its centenary next year, are now taking to the water in brand new quad and double scull boats which have been paid for with an £18,411 grant from local firm The Banks Group, via its Banks Community Fund.

The club already boasts two members, Jamie Kirkwood and Elaine Johnson, that could be participating in the London 2012 Olympics after being selected for the senior Great Britain rowing squad.

And the club committee is hoping that the new boats will boost the chances of more local rowers following in their footsteps, as well as improving the club’s competitiveness at the regattas in which its crews compete.

Founded in 1911, Cambois Rowing Club was originally set up by a group of local miners, and is still known as the Miners’ Rowing Club.

Based at the Wansbeck Riverside Community Park, it has a total of 90 senior and junior members, who are drawn from right across south east Northumberland, and sends crews to compete regularly in regattas across the north east, as well as elsewhere in England and Scotland.

According to club committee member David Manning, the talent of many of its younger members and the forthcoming centenary celebrations have combined to provide a big incentive to take the club’s competitiveness to the next level.

He says: “We’ve worked hard in recent years to grow our membership, and as a result, the need has grown for more boats that can be used by the larger number of rowers on our books.“We have an extremely promising junior ‘four’ coming up through the ranks, which meant that getting a new quad boat to give them every possible competitive advantage was our highest priority. “The double scull boat can also be used as a pair, where rowers hold only one oar rather than two, and therefore gives us a great degree of flexibility when it comes to the different needs of different crews.

“Banks is well known across South East Northumberland, especially amongst those with past or present links to the mining industry, and their generous support will play a big role in the club’s future success both as competitive racers on the water and as a valuable community facility off it.” 

The Banks Group has operated several surface mines in south east Northumberland since the 1980s and is actively involved with plans for the regeneration of the Cambois area.

Mark Dowdall, environment and community director at the Banks Group adds: “We are pleased to be able to help mark the club’s centenary with this grant and hope it will help many more of their younger members make their mark on the national stage in the future.

“The rowing club’s heritage, impressive levels of community involvement and success at encouraging local young talent and people of all ages and abilities to get active is an inspiration.”

Projects, community groups, or organisations looking for funding in the vicinity of a Banks Group development should contact Clare Johnson at the Banks Community Fund on 0191 378 6342.

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