Hasler 2021 is Go!

The current reduced Covid restrictions means that we expect to be able to run the Hasler this year. It might not look like it usually does this year as we will still have some restrictions in place, but we hope to see you all for a fun day of racing on the Thames at Pangbourne.

Newsletter Christmas and New Year Edition 2019

May we begin by wishing you all, family and friends a really Happy Christmas and a very Happy, Healthy and Exciting New Year. We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for all your efforts over the year that have inspired and motivated  so many people, both young and more advanced in age from novices to experts. This would not have been possible without the time, effort and commitment that many of you have given Adventure Dolphin during 2019. Simply inspirational stuff!  Thank you.

Annual Boxing Day Morning Paddle and Social

We hope to see as many of you as possible in joining us for the Annual Boxing Day Morning Paddle and Social commencing at the centre at 10am. And ‘yes’ mince pies and mulled wine will be available for fortification. There is the likelihood of a walk however do bring your wellies as well as you woollies!!!

Adventure Dolphin (Pangbourne) Charity Annual General Meeting

The Adventure Dolphin Charity (AD) Annual General Meeting (AGM) will take place on Wednesday 8th January 2020. Arrive from 6.30 for light bites ready for a 7.15pm start, in the main hall at Dolphin House. We hope that you will be able to come and share and hear where we are as a Club and what we are aiming to do in the future.

The Santa Paddle

Continuing the Christmas theme – a seasonal thank you to Donna for organising the Santa Paddle this year. We travelled from the Cunning Man public house at Burghfield to the Wokingham Waterside perplexing shoppers and revellers alike through the Oracle shopping Centre on the Kennet and Avon canal. This was the quickest way through Reading at the time!

What next for our Club’s own adventure?

As we near the top of another year it is often a good time to reflect on what we have achieved as well as what lies ahead in the future. As such The Trustees have been considering the Club’s future and are now seeking your help as a result of this review. They have looked at not only where we have come from as a club but where we are now and recognise that we need more Trustees and helpers to assist in club organisation as we seek to continue our next adventures. The Trustees are indebted to a small number of people who have worked tirelessly since we took over from West Berkshire Council but we now need help to manage some of the Club’s functions by sharing some of these responsibilities. So do please come along to the AGM and learn how, through a little of your time, you could make a big difference to the future of Adventure Dolphin.

Wednesday Social Group (7-9pm)

Nice one Claire Hardwick for coordinating the development of ‘Wednesday Socials’. These all together enjoyable informal gatherings are open to all club members and consist of a variety of informative opportunities to learn and practice in a multitude of adventurous topics. Regularly drawing upon the experience of a variety of our own ‘ in house’ and guest expert speakers a recent night navigation evening proved to be a fun and relevant topic held during a post clock change autumn evening. Topics are already planned for 2020. All are welcome

February 19th              – Let’s Get Knotted – aimed at anyone needing skills in knots and all uses of ropes and lines.

March 18th                  – Film Night, Paddling films (Penny & Ken would be pleased to hear from you should you have any really good paddling films to include)

Memory Trips

2019 saw a wealth of trips being organised, and thanks go to all those who offered to lead and help on them. We have explored the Wye twice; Dart twice; Rother; Cuckmere and Barle. Future trips are planned on the River Usk, Cherwell and Lee Valley white water centre too.

A Moonlight Paddle in September organised by Claire proved to be very successful and was helped by a lucky weather break leading to clear sky, sunset and a full moon.  The Symonds Yat trip, arranged by Ed during the same month saw a small (but perfectly formed!) group enjoy an excellent paddling day – white water paddling in tee shirts and shorts! Water levels low (0.8m at Monmouth). This would have been perfect for beginners so listen out for similar trips planned in 2020. Finally, the multi talented Sunday morning team of Nick and Chris have been out each week. Recently in the high water conditions they have been doing some local paddles, down river!

Racing Group

The New Year sees the Racing Group start to prepare for the Devizes – Westminster Canoe Race (DW) through the Waterside series of 4 races. We assist Newbury Canoe Club with marshalling the Waterside Race Series and you don’t have to be a paddler to be involved! It is great fun! Email info@adventuredolphin if you would like to help.

This year’s DW saw our club doing really well with Vicky Metcalfe and Liz Murnaghan winning the Ladies C2. Robin Tilbury and Tommy Fitzgerald  came first in the Senior Junior

K2, plus our highest placed K1, women’s K2 and Peter Walker joining the 1,000 mile paddlers plus some other great results, so good luck for 2020 everyone!!


The high spot of the evening paddlesport courses this summer was the introduction of the Stand up Paddleboards which proved to be a great success. In 2020 we are going to offer the three week courses staring in June when the water is warmer. Once again thanks to John Bethell and Ian Blatchley and their teams for all the hard work over the summer getting so many on the water. Tuesday saw us introducing the Scouts to paddling with a total of 760 participants overall. There were Beavers having a go in the Bell Boats; Cubs in rafted open canoes and finally Scouts having a go at Kayaking. A big thank you to all those who helped lead by Jack and Chris.

To support the above programmes Claire Hardwick has been active in organising a great many courses to help the coaches maintain and improve qualifications and skills. The SUP module was well attended. The Paddlesport Activity Assistant course was run which lead to a Paddlesport Instructor course. Safety is all important too, either safeguarding or the more active Foundation Safety and Rescue and White Water Safety and Rescue to the regular First Aid and Aquatic First Aid courses which have all taken place throughout this year. So once again, a great many thanks to all who delivered these vital sessions and kept us up to date.

Game Makers

Yes, the Olympics are once again on the horizon and so sprint and slalom paddling will have some great publicity as will, for the very first time, climbing. We will look to see how, as a club, we can build upon this opportunity. The climbing team do a tremendous job and require more help so we are looking to run an assistants course just as we have done for paddling and so, if you can belay and wouldn’t mind providing a few hours to train up, your support will enable us to open the climbing wall up for additional users. Let us know through info@adventuredolphin.co.uk if you can help.

Duke of Edinburgh Awards

Can you help with Duke of Edinburgh courses? We run Bronze, Silver and Gold groups all of which need expedition training each year. This year our Gold groups canoed and camped on the Rivers Wye, Severn  and the Thames with great expedition organised by one of the Gold groups to the River Dordogne in France. It just happened to coincide with the hottest temperatures ever recorded in France, a challenge of a different nature. The Bronze walking groups were local and based at Rushall Farm, Bradfield in completing their expeditions. We are pleased that most of those enrolled have now completed their Awards and are being presented with them over the next few months.

We would like all our helpers to have completed the nationally recognised Lowland Expedition Leaders Award (LEL), our next course starting in January. More details can be found on the Club website (https://adventuredolphin.co.uk/lowland-leadership-course/). Financial help may be offered to those LEL participants offering to support our DofE programme. Contact dofecoordinator@adventuredolphin.co.uk.

West Berkshire Lottery is an exciting weekly lottery that raises money for good causes in West Berkshire including Adventure Dolphin. Each ticket has a 1 in 50 chance to win a prize each week, with a top prize of £25,000! That’s a better chance of winning than the National Lottery.

Each ticket will consist of 6 numbers and each number will be between 0 and 9. There will be a draw every Saturday night when a 6 digit winning combination will be picked. Prizes will be given to players with tickets that match the first or last 2-6 numbers from the winning combination. Match all 6 and you win the JACKPOT!

The lottery and its prizes are our way of putting the fun in fundraising. The real winners are the good causes. Tickets are available now at a cost £1 each, and for every ticket bought through the lottery Adventure Dolphin page, 50p will come straight to us.

Please spread the word among family, friends and colleagues. https://www.westberkshirelottery.co.uk/support/adventure-dolphin/buytickets

Save the dates

And finally, the Seneschal have been working hard and have put together the dates for next season. Whilst full schedule of 2020 activities and events will be published in early January please find for your information early notice of what is planned during the first two months of the 2020.

Forthcoming dates for the diary:

Thursday 26th December        Boxing Day morning paddle & social. Meet at 10am

Sunday 29th December           No session

Sunday 5th January                  New Year Paddle on the Cherwell

Monday 6th January                D of E Presentations & Leaders meeting

Wednesday 8th January          Adventure Dolphin AGM. Invite to all members. Meet from 6.30pm for 7.15pm.  Light refreshments will be available

Wednesday 15th January        Safeguarding Course(Level 1) in Henley

Thursday 16th January            Seneschal meeting 7pm

Sunday 19th January                Aquatic First Aid in Henley

Monday 27th January              Trips planning 7pm

Sunday 2nd February               River Usk white water paddle

Sunday 9th February               Leaders Day, 11.30am – 4.30pm – All leaders

Sunday 16th February              First of the Waterside Race series

Newsletter June 2019 Adventure Dolphin Race Group – Pangbourne Canoe Club

Newsletter June 2019 Adventure Dolphin Race Group – Pangbourne Canoe Club

Great start to Introduction to Race Boats Evening Course

The intro to race boats evening course got off to a great start with only one capsize so far three weeks into the course, dispelling the myth that race boats are wobbly! As well as venturing onto the river, participants have perfected their technique on the paddling machines. Amy has made amazing progress paddling a Zeta, a really cool fast boat, last session.

Dad Neil on the paddling machine with daughter Amy giving encouragement!

The next course starts on Thursday 6th June and there are still places available.  We take children from 8 years upwards, including adults. It’s great fun and you will be surprised how good you are.

Wedding Bells

I am delighted to announce that David M and Beverley H were married on Saturday 18th May.  David is one of our coaches and Beverley helps at the Pangbourne Hasler and Watersides. The reception was on the Cholsey and Wallingford Railway – a really relaxing way to celebrate.

David and Beverley -Just Married

Promotion for Daisy in Basingstoke Hasler

Sunday 19th May was the Basingstoke Hasler. Daisy was promoted from division 9 to 8, coming 4th in the race, with only adult paddlers ahead of her.  Congratulations!  She had a good start and kept up the momentum right to the finish.

Daisy off the start line

Bronze for Ruth and Vicky

Ruth S paddling with Vicky M were third in 8K2.  Talking to Ruth after the race, she told me “ I was a bit nervous off the start, but the nerves disappeared the moment we got going.  We had a good turn and were able to wash-hang another K2 easily because the paddlers were both wearing bright orange.  Vicky was good to paddle with.”

Ruth and Vicky battling the wash at the start
Ruth and Vicky pick up their trophies

Chris R completed 9K1 in 49:29 (11th/16) experiencing one of those crowded canal starts where the wash always results in a few swims – but not Chris this time!

Chris on the start line

Ian P got into a boat jam at the start of 8K1 (through no fault of his own) but paddled so hard throughout the race – you could see how hard he worked when he got off the water – well done Ian!

Ian P waiting in the start line up

In 5K2 Paul A & Steve M and brother and sister team of Fay and Stu had an interesting race with 13 boats pushing the start line and Stu determined to get pole position. Fay and Stu were 7th Paul and Steve were 9th.

Stu and Fay in perfect sync
Steve and Paul Edging the boat on a right turn

James B and Peter W were our only C2 pairing completing their division 6 race in 1:29:02.  Well done on handling that big boat on a narrow canal, gentlemen!

James and Peter- determination and skill

Owen B, sporting a new haircut, travelled up from Southampton to race in 4K1, completing the 8.8-mile course in 01:23:29.

Owen skillfully negotiates the turn

Simon TC looked on good form in 3K1 but retired before the finish. On 5th June Simon did rather better in the Wey Hasler. He was paddling out of region in a strong field completing the 12 mile course in 01:58:19.  Well done Simon!

Simon with that look of determination

What a fantastic race day, and many thanks to Basingstoke Canal Canoe Club for hosting the event! 

Come and Try

We are very keen to get more people in race boats, young and old alike!  You will be amazed at how fast you can go and how much fun you can have doing exercise!  Our next come and try session is Saturday 15th June – morning.  Contact info@adventuredolphin.co.uk for more information.  If you can’t make this but want to have a go still get in touch and we will try to organize it for you. 

Newsletter April 2019 Adventure Dolphin Race Group -Pangbourne Canoe Club

Newsletter April 2019 Adventure Dolphin Race Group -Pangbourne Canoe Club

Waterside Series Trophy winners: Fay, Caroline, James, Peter, Vicky and Liz

The alarm went off at 3.30am on Sunday.  Why am I getting up in the middle of the night? Well it’s obvious – Waterside D – 34 miles on the Kennet and Avon Canal with a one hour forty-minute drive and a 7.15 start! This was the last in the series of Waterside Races, the classic build-up to the 125 mile Devizes to Westminster.

In the last month the remaining two Waterside Races took place:

Race C Pewsey to Newbury 23 miles and 35 portages

 Race D Devizes to Newbury 34 miles and 35 portages. 

The times for all four races (A, B, C and D) are totaled to get a series result.  Pangbourne had some brilliant results:

Vicky M and partner Liz (B3C) took the Ladies C2 Trophy.

Fay B and Caroline W were second in Ladies K2.

Peter W and James B were third in the Canadian Doubles.

These series results represent a tremendous effort over four races, 87 miles and 110 portages so well done to our medal winners and everyone else who raced, marshalled, checked paddlers in, served up food, supported (i.e. fed paddlers as they ran through portages) and helped in ways too many to mention.  Thanks to the Race Organiser, Clive Williams, and his team from Newbury Canoe Club for hosting the race, to the Adventure Dolphin team who played a key role in making the series happen and to Marsport (Craig Hill) for sponsorship.

Caroline and Fay K2 Ladies 2nd place

In Series

Liz and Vicky – Ladies C2 Canadian Doubles Series winners

Peter and James 3rd Place in Series – Canadian Doubles

For those who like the stats, the Pangbourne results for races C and D are given below:

Race C

Matt W + Richard W (BSP) K2 Senior 3:33:16 14/35

Fay B and Caroline W K2 Ladies 4:07:02 6/10

David C and Jonathan C K2 Veterans 4:13:38 20/27

Robin T and Tommy F K2 Junior/Vet 3:42:50 3/8

Simon TC K1 Senior 3:38:56 10/16

Steve M Vet K1 4:15:50 14/20

Vicky M and Liz (B3C) C2 4:06:49 6/18

Peter W and James B C2 4:11:37 8/18

Race D

Fay B and Caroline W K2 Ladies 6:37:24 2/4

Tommy F and Robin T K2 Junior/Vet retired

Simon TC K1 Senior retired

Steve M K1 Vet 6:59:30 6/9

James B and Peter W Canadian Doubles 6:36:24 4/10

Vicky M and Liz (B3C) Canadian Doubles 6:50:50 7/10

Leamington Spa Hasler 

The Leamington Spa Hasler clashed with Waterside D on 7th April.  The only Pangbourne entry was Jarvis M who raced in division 2 K2 with his brother Conor.  They won the race in 01:34:25 and were the only Div. 2 paddlers – a lonely 12 miles! Well done on completing the course.

Devizes to Westminster International Canoe Race

Vicky and Liz win the Ladies C2 class

Liz and Vicky winners of the ladies C2 class.  Fastest ladies crew and second fastest ladies crew of all time

Enter your text here…Vicky M and Liz M completed the course in 25:01:14 in C2 winning the ladies C2 class, taking a massive 1.5 hours off their 2015 time.  They were the fastest ladies crew in a C2 and the second fastest ladies crew of all time.  This is the third time that Vicky has won this trophy

Gold for Tommy and Robin

Tommy and Robin – Junior/Veteran winners

Tommy F and Robin TC won Gold in the Devizes to Westminster Junior/Vet category over 4 days.  They won in a time of 19:06:04 with a lead of over an hour.  Huge congratulations to you both on a consistent effort not only over the four days but also all the training it took to get there

Simon TC came 6th in the Senior Singles over 4 days in a time of 19:05:10. This was an amazing result in a field of over 40, particularly as this is his first year as a senior.

Simon TC – 6th in Senior Singles over 4 days

Peter and James, with Caroline at the finish

Straight through race.

All other crews competed in the Senior Double (straight through race).

Peter W and James B completed in 24h 24 min, coming third in the Canadian category.  This was Peter’s 8th DW meaning he joins the list of thousand milers. It was James’ first complete DW, having unfinished business when the race was stopped at Dreadnought Reach last year due to strong flow on the Thames.

Fay B and Caroline W completed in 24h 40 min in what Caroline describes as “a wonderful cruise from Devizes to Westminster”. This was their first complete DW, again, as they were stopped last year at Dreadnought Reach

​Not everyone made it.  Our two newest members Jonathan C and David C made it to Shepperton but had two capsizes during the night and retired with exhaustion.  David has been paddling for less than a year and Jonathan not much longer, so they did brilliantly to get this far.  Congratulations to you both – they will be back next year!

Jonathan and David – back next year!

Sarah and Steve

Steve (me) and Sarah made it to Teddington, but we just missed the tide window.  I was ill and taken in a vehicle with flashing blue lights to hospital where they pumped saline into me, and I now feel much better.

Overall the club got some wonderful results competing in an International event against much larger clubs some with GB team members with the support of National coaches. 

The DW could not have taken place without the huge team of supporters; the people who marshalled, with such good humour and a helpful attitude and all the family and friends who suffered lack of sleep and hot sunshine followed by a cold night. All the competitors extend a huge ‘thanks’. 

Background to the DW

The race is held annually over the Easter weekend.  It is considered to be one of the world’s toughest endurance challenges.  Starting at Devizes wharf, the route follows the Kennet and Avon canal for 54 miles to Reading, where it joins the Thames. Another 54 miles later it reaches Teddington Lock, ending 17 miles later at Westminster Bridge – a total of 125 miles.

Personalities to own a DW medal are former leader of the Liberal Democrats, Paddy Ashdown, explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes, TV Presenter Steve Backshall, Olympic gold medalist rowers James Cracknell and Helen Glover, and the first British woman to climb Everest Rebecca Stephens.  Amongst famous athletes to pull out of the race is five-time Olympic rowing champion Sir Steve Redgrave who, in 2012, pulled out after 87 miles through tiredness.

The Loop

The Loop

We met on a wonderfully brisk but bright morning, ready to hit the gnarly flows of the mighty Loop. The water was set at a lovely low to medium level that allowed everything to be paddled with ease (unless your name is Boothy and mess up the weir in a canoe).

We started at New Bridge and made our way down the river stopping every now again to play. Grant decided to play too much with the foliage and learnt that hugging trees is not always the best of fun. Once this was remedied we moved on down the river on our lovely little bimble.

The group had a lovely time learning new skills and brushing the cobwebs off old ones as they passed through the different sections of the Loop. Once we made it to the Dart Country Park we started our next section on the Lower Dart. We had great fun overtaking other groups, running the river and generally playing silly games whilst also developing our skills in paddling as a group on moving water.

We finished at a wonderful cafe where we had a debrief about the day and some of us had a delightful cream tea. What a fantastic end to a fantastic day out on the river with the best of people. Thank you to all that came on this amazing trip. I can’t wait to be out the river with everyone soon.

PCC update

A busy month for Marathon

We have had no fewer than three longer distance races over the last month. 

Waterside A

Waterside A, Great Bedwyn to Newbury, on 24th February was on a glorious spring day, the first time I can remember a Waterside race where cags were cast aside by most paddlers.  Even with the mild weather it was a tough race of 13.5 miles with 21 portages.

Jarvis M had a great race coming 2nd/18 JK1 in 1:58:07;

Simon TC was 9th/16 in 2:03:46 SK1

Robin T and Tommy F were 7th/14 JV in 2:11:21,

James B and Peter W were 7th/16 in 2:28:30

Vicky M and Liz M (BCCC) were 6th/16 in 2:24.10 in C2

Caroline W and Fay B were 6th/11 in 2:27:11 Mixed K2

Steve M 15th/23 VK1 in 2:30:10

A big “Thank you” to our supporters, the organisers and marshals.

Thameside 1

Starting from Aldermaston Bridge, Thameside 1 is a time trial down the Kennet and Avon Canal, onto the river Kennet, through Reading Town Centre onto the Thames then upstream and over Caversham lock to finish at Reading Canoe Club.  A distance of about 12 miles with 12 portages.  The weather was certainly testing from what I hear (I missed the race as I was in sunny Seville) A small team from Pangbourne entered.

Simon TC in SMK1 was 6th/10 in 1:48:35.

Robin T and Tommy F in JVK2 were 5th/8 in 1:54:06 and

Jarvis M paddling with Rachel (Reading CC) was 2nd/18 in Mixed K2 in 1:51:00 – a really good result!

Many thanks to Reading Canoe Club for staging this event.

Waterside B

March winds and April showers Make way for sweet May flowers”

Well let’s hope that this is true after being buffeted by strong winds with gusts over 30mph on Waterside B.  This race is 17.5 miles/19 portages from Newbury to Aldermaston and back.  The outward leg with the wind more or less behind us was not too taxing but the return leg, into the wind, was a real challenge.  At times I was paddling and felt that the boat just wasn’t moving forward at all.

Fay B and Caroline W had a fine race coming 3rd/5 in mixed K2 in 3:10:00.   Robin T and Tommy F also claimed a Bronze in Junior/Vet 3rd/8 in 2:55:40T.  Simon TC, K1 Senior was 6th/12 in 2:46:48 in a strong field.  In Canadian doubles James B and Peter W were 4th/10 in 3:15:21 despite taking two swims.  However, they now know that their boat is easy to empty!  Vicky M and Liz M (BCCC) were 5th/10 in 3:16:11. Vicky had not been feeling well all week so did well to compete at all. Steve M came 14th/21 in 3:21:28 having argued with a low bridge and lost, resulting in a swim.

Wedding Bells I’m pleased to announce that David M and Beverley H have announced a date for their wedding. They are getting married on 18th.  Congratulations to you both. 

PCC Update

Happy New Year
A Happy New Year to all paddlers! The race group celebrated the festive season with a post paddle feast and presentation of the Senior and Junior Lynn Francis Club Trophies.  This year the senior trophy was awarded to Hazel B for her helpfulness with the Club and determination in the boat.  Hazel did the intro to race boats evening course in summer 2017 and raced with her son in the Nationals in 2018.  The junior trophy was awarded to Daisy for her consistent effort in both marathon and sprints and moving up to a Cougar from a beginner’s boat.

Frank Luzmore Race
On 6th January we competed in the Frank Luzmore Race.   This was a 20.5 km race with three portages.  About 150 boats K2s and C2s took part. The weather was fine, and the flow slow compared to recent years, so no records were broken.  The fastest boar on the water was the Chelmsford crew of Keith Moule and Matthew Johnson who completed the race in 1:25.13 in an exciting finish with Matthew Bowley (BPR) and Tim Pendle (NOR) only three seconds behind them. 

The fastest Pangbourne paddler was Jarvis M who completed the U18 men’s in 1:40.25 paddling with a partner from Devizes.  James B and Peter W had a solid performance in their C2 missing the third-place podium for Senior Mixed B by 30s. Fay B and Caroline W had an impressive race breaking the 2-hour barrier by three seconds.  Vicky M and Liz from Basingstoke had an interesting start with boats colliding, but their skilled paddling kept them afloat. 

They were the top all female C2 crew, also beating the 2-hour barrier.  Steve M and Paul A came in in 1:53.18.   I spotted a seal in the water just after Teddington but cannot claim that this slowed me down. 

Charles Hicks Canal Challenge
The next race is the Charles Hicks Challenge at Mytchett, home of Basingstoke Canal Canoe Club on Saturday 26th January.  13 miles and 10 portages.  

Watersides and Devizes to Westminster
If you are not competing and are willing to help, marshals are needed for the Waterside Series (contact Bill Whittaker) and Devizes to Westminster, particularly the Bruce Tunnel (contact Adrian Wheeler).  Any help gratefully received. 

AGM Chairman’s Report

This has been a momentous year. The site that we are on is owned by the Pangbourne Parish Council and the building we are in is leased by the District Council from the Parish Council.

The District Council, along with most other local authorities, are in severe financial difficulties and they tried, unsuccessfully as it turned out, to run the Centre on a break-even basis. They then looked to the private sector to take over the running of the building but there were no takers. One Company would have taken the building but they wanted to install a gym on the first floor and subsequent testing showed that the floor was not strong enough to take the weight of the equipment and potential users.                                

So the Council then offered our Charity the opportunity to take over the running of the Centre. We then prepared a Business Plan which showed that we had sufficient reserves to ensure that come what may we could run the Centre for at least 3 years. The Business Plan was a joint effort by all Trustees but thanks are especially due to David Appleton for undertaking most of the spadework and to Sarah Westall for giving the Plan a presentation polish.

So we took the plunge and told the Council that we would be prepared to go ahead and since April 2018 we have been running the Centre. The Council, who will need the approval of the Parish Council, have promised us a lease for an initial three years, which will be extended indefinitely if we make a financial success of running the Centre.

I did see and commented on a draft Lease in June but unfortunately have heard nothing since. I would add that the Parish Council have been 100% in favour of the charity taking over the running of the Centre, so no problem there. And just for the record can I say that I have a 30 year background in local government and I know where the bodies are buried but I can assure you that no deep-seated skulduggery is afoot. I don’t see the delay as a cunning ploy by the Council to see if we make a success of running it and to then flog it off. We will get our Lease eventually.

The figures that we were given by the Council showed that they were spending over £50K a year running the Centre. Here I want to pay the warmest of tributes to Trustee Steve Ellis, who heads up our Facilities team, comprising Nick Hatchett, Chris Whitehead, Bill Whitaker,  plus Jonnie London and Robin Tilbury. Thanks to their heroic efforts the cost of running the building has been greatly reduced – one can not be precise because until we get a lease the Council are still picking up the utility bills, and the cost of some of the work that is needed on the structure should in our view be picked up by the Council rather than ourselves. But in very broad terms we appear to have reduced expenditure by as much as 35-40%.

Turning to income we have our membership income of around £5K and again a warm thank you to all those Club members who run our evening courses, which bring in £10K. We have discovered that letting income – thank you again Sarah Westall this time for handling the bookings, generates an income of £16K, so with an existing income of around £31K we are close to break=even. That is an incredible result in such a short timescale and it would not have been possible without your efforts .

However at the moment the Centre is inactive during the day as regards outdoor activities. We did not rush into filling this void because of TUPE (Transfer of Undertakings) legislation. If TUPE had applied to our takeover we would have had to take over existing paid staff. We are past that potential problem now and I am pleased to say that we have reached agreement with Dave Hopper of the Outdoor Academy who from this April will hire the downstairs of the Centre and our equipment on weekdays and holidays to run a schools programme of activities.

The additional income will of course secure us financially and if Dave Hopper makes a success of his new venture, as I am sure he will, that will benefit us even more. Dave will now be approaching schools who formerly used the Activities Team, West Berkshire and will also be recruiting instructors. So if any Club members know of schools who might be interested or are personally interested in becoming an Instructor could they get in touch with Kevin in the first place.

The upstairs office is much larger than we need and another proposal, which is being investigated, is the possibility of Pangbourne Physio Centre paying us to use part of the office area as an exercise Centre.

I mentioned how supportive Pangbourne Parish Council have been. I chanced to meet their Chairman Rob Holden in the street two days ago and he told me that the Pangbourne Business Forum had raised over £500 at the Xmas festivities and that sum, generously topped up to £1000 by local MP Alok Sharma was being donated to us.

In addition Pangbourne Rotary Club have made us their nominated charity for receiving the proceeds of the Pangbourne Art Exhibition – April 12-14th. This is held in the Village Hall, as the Centre is not big enough, but I hope you will support the event as the more support there is the larger the donation to us. We expect that donation to also be around the £1000 mark.

 It has always been one of my maxims in life that buildings don’t make organizations, people do. Ensuring our Charity is successful is very much a team effort. It is no point having a magnificent Centre if it is not being used.

Just by becoming a member you contribute to that success but as this Charity is entirely run by volunteers, there are some among us whom I want to mention by name. You probably know the famous saying by Napoleon, the pig in George Orwell’s  ‘Animal Farm’ – all animals are equal but some are more equal than others – I have already mentioned Nick, Chris and Bill on the Facilities Team. They have done tremendous work. Step up for a small liquid recognition.

Communication with the membership as well is vitally important in any organisation and particularly in one such as ours with no paid staff. So step up Donna Hatchett and Corinna Baillie with grateful thanks for all that you do.

Of the Trustees I have already mentioned David Appleton, Steve Ellis and Sarah Westall. I have not so far said anything about our Treasurer, Tony Fitzgerald, but we would be lost without him. He has a full-time job and really busts a gut for us. Ed Edwards, Bob Feuillade, Alan Brown and Kevin Dennis are our activity squad – liaising with our many leaders – ensuring that we are an active charity and all our activities are safe.

Sadly we are losing two of them, who are stepping down.  David Appleton has been a tower of strength to me as regards the business side of running the Trust. He came with detailed knowledge of the inner workings of West Berks Council and that too has been tremendously helpful. Tim Metcalfe is also going as he is standing down from the West Berks Council after many years. To be honest, with David and Tim on our side I sometimes almost felt sorry for those on the other side trying to argue the West Berks case! Tim it was who organized the very successful Race night on September 7th, which raised £1100 for the Trust. Step up David and Tim for some more liquid refreshment.

When David Appleton steps down at the end of this meeting I shall be losing both a friend   and a Vice-Chairman. It is a matter for the Trustees rather than this meeting but I just wanted you to know that I shall be nominating Steve Ellis to succeed David as Vice-Chairman. He has done a magnificent job heading up the maintenance team, and I am sure he will be a worthy successor to David .

I am also very pleased that Joy Jamieson has volunteered to become a Trustee – that makes two lady Trustees and as Joy has agreed to act as our Secretary that is another load off my mind.

I will finish by mentioning the Adam Vaughan fund. Adam used to be a member of Adventure Dolphin. When he was at Cardiff University and Vice-Chairman of the University kayaking club, he went on an expedition to the Andes and was accidentally drowned. His parents then donated £1600 to us to set up a fund in his memory to fund either white water safety and rescue training  and/or kayak coaching training- aimed at young people who would both benefit from but would find it difficult to fund it themselves .

Thank you all for your support. 

Clive Williams

10th January 2019

A team to be proud of

A team to be proud of

Congratulations to all of our volunteer members who received awards at British Canoeing’s Southern Region (Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and Hampshire) award ceremony on Tuesday 20th November, held in Pangbourne.

Attended by various clubs throughout the region, our members received awards for long service, impact and volunteering.

Club Impact Award for 2018
Jointly to Ian Blatchley and John Bethell

Young Volunteer Coach of the Year
Ellie Hatchett

15 Years Service Award for Services to the Southern Region

Kevin Dennis

Outstanding Contribution and 25 Years Service

Adrian Moon
Alan Brown
Cliff Coombes
Ed Edwards
Ian Blatchley
Ian Flanders
John Bethell
Ken Tomkins
Maggie Dennis
Sue Harris
Vicky Metcalfe

15 years service
Andrew Middleton
Bill Whitaker
Claire Hardwick
Colin Greaves
Mark Edwards
Ian Palmer
Kevin Dennis
Lizzy Feuillade
Paul Atherton
Penny Tomkins
Steve McCluskey
Tim Metcalfe

Well done to everyone