Category Archives: Club News

Club News and Announcements

Restored scull unveiled at River & Rowing Museum

The final chapter was written in the restoration of ‘J Hopper’ with the unveiling of the finished article on March 27th 2017 at the River and Rowing Museum in Henley.

J Hopper (formerly named Maxwell) is a single clinker scull named after an eminent Hexham-based professional sculler of the 1920s and 1930s called Jack Hopper. It was rescued from the scrapheap and purchased for £50 in 2012 by former Durham ARC off-peak member, and still regular visitor, Roger Bean, who then set about restoring it to its former glory. Much of the ground work took place in the loft of Clive Hole’s boathouse, with Clive’s assistance, recompense for storage coming in the form of whisky.

Roger sought the assistance of former boatbuilder and historian Clive Radley who helped to trace the boat’s fascinating history. Moving away from Durham the project continued, Clive Radley acting as benefactor and putting Roger in touch with Bill Colley who set about completing the restoration to a standard suitable for the River & Rowing Museum.

A re-christening ceremony took place at Richmond on October 21st 2016.

The story is covered in detail in the following 2 blog entries posted to ‘Hear the Boat Sing’ in September 2015 and October 2016.

Richmond-upon-Thames, Part I: A Reminder of the Golden Age of Boating

Long lost Minute Book reveals club history

The Club Minute Book covering the years between 1923 and 1951 has come to light recently, enabling Barry to add some fascinating facts from the club history to the timeline which can be found on the club’s website.

As well as this it has been possible to fill in some gaps in the historical record of wins. The revised list of wins from 1860 can be found here.

The missing minute book came to light among personal belongings following the death last year of former club chairman John Short.

Durham Regatta website launch

The launch of Durham Regatta’s new website took place at Durham ARC on Monday this week. 

The new design honours the rich history and traditon of the Regatta but has a contemporary, modern feel. The website is also optimised for all mobile devices – ensuring that everyone can easily access the information relevant to them.

Durham Regatta dates back to 1834 making it the second oldest regatta in the United Kingdom after Chester Regatta. It predates the Henley Royal Regatta by 5 years. The Durham Regatta Committee dates back to the Regatta’s inception, although today Durham Regatta is run as a limited company.

The 2017 Durham Regatta takes place on June 10th and 11th.

Volunteer of the Year Awards

Recognising the volunteers who make a significant contribution to the sport the awards presentation to the winners of British Rowing’s Volunteer of the Year for 2016 took place at a lunch at the River & Rowing Museum at Henley-on-Thames on February 4th.

Winner of the Event Administration award for the Northern Region, on behalf of Durham Regatta was Richard Mortimer of Durham ARC.

Coverage will appear in Rowing & Regatta magazine and in the British Rowing Almanack in due course.

Richard is pictured along with Nicci Slipman of Hexham RC receiving their awards from guest speaker Dame Katherine Grainger.

Photo by Nick Middleton.

Pelaw Wood update – winter 2016

Durham County Council has issued the following update about restoration work in Pelaw Wood.

Following thorough analysis of the second landslip, a design to stabilise the ground has been completed. Additional soil nailing works were also required to stabilise the steepest parts of the bankside. A mesh will be installed at the surface and vegetation allowed to grow through. Work continues to stabilise the slope using stone and ‘geoweb’ retaining walls, which we have used to keep as much of the existing material in place as possible.

Some trees have had to be removed in consultation with our tree officer where access to carry out the works was not possible. As many of the existing trees have been retained as possible.

Soil nailing works will take around 5 weeks to complete, however there will be further  work to stabilise the ground which will take until early 2017 to complete.

We are hoping to reopen the footpath in February 2017.

For regular update and more information on the scheme please visit

Geoff celebrates 60 years at DARC

On October 31st 2016 Geoff Graham completed 60 years as a member of Durham ARC with a small celebration in the clubhouse.

Geoff has taken on innumerable jobs around the club over the years, having raced for the club, coached numerous crews and even helped to build the old clubhouse

As an oarsman he achieved success winning the Lady Herschel Plate for Novice coxed fours at Durham Regatta in 1963 and the Rushworth and Storey Cup for coxed fours in 1966, then, rowing as a pair with Bill Parker, winning the MacFarlane-Grieve Cup for senior pairs in 1968.

The Boston Marathon provided further notable successes including winning the pair in 1971 and 1973, and in 1974 being a member of the overall winning crew, a coxless four of GS Graham, WT Parker, J Hedley and JC Kenyon, then winning the fastest 8+ in 1975.

As club captain in 1982 he was able to report a then club record of 62 wins in open events, a total surpassed the following year with 72 wins thanks to a strong junior contingent. Eleven of these wins went to the ladies coxed four coached by Geoff, with a crew of A Lund, A Page, C Fraser, A Dawson and cox Tommy Maddison, including gold medals representing England at the Home International in Glasgow.

In recent times there has been much success with the women’s performance squad including Gill Prescott and Helen McMillan.

Junior Captains appointed

We are delighted to have re-introduced the Junior Captains within the Junior Squads.  The applicants after writing a letter of application stating why they were suitable for the position of Junior Captain, were invited in to be interviewed by a panel headed by Helen McMillan.  The standard of applicants was extremely high and we are delighted to announce that the following have been appointed:

  • Junior Boys Captain – Josh Stephenson
  • Junior Boys Vice Captain – Harry Coe
  • Junior Girls Captain – Becky Jackson
  • Junior Girls Vice Captain – Olivia Brown

Double launched in Bill’s memory

On Saturday October 1st a group of Old Salopians who where at Shrewsbury School with Bill Grant gathered to launch a Hudson Double scull named in memory of Bill and bought with money donated by the group. The double will be used by the school’s Junior girls.

Unfortunately the weather was not kind but his old mates went out in the rain in a double and quadruple sculls to row past the school boathouse in his memory. After the row past the boat was christened by Jenny Grant, Bill’s widow and a few memories of Bill were shared with the gathering. He was well respected in the school community.

Bill started rowing at Shrewsbury School in the 1960s before a successful rowing career with Durham University. After a break of many years he returned to coaching at Durham ARC some 10 years ago and served the club in many roles until his death in 2015.

The Old Salopian newsletter contains an obituary on page 76.

Two World 100km records for Roger and Hazel

On September 24th in Newquay, Cornwall two DARC members, Hazel and Roger Stainforth were in world record setting indoor rowing activities in their respective age groups.

Organised by the Newquay Indoor Rowing Club, two teams of rowers from across the UK – and one man from France – set world records rowing in relay fashion to complete 100km on Concept 2 rowing machines. Each team member rowed for 200m or 20 strokes at their maximum pace before passing the handle to the next team member, so the action was continuous.

Hazel competed in a 60+ mixed team comprising 6 women and 3 men. They chose to row 200m sessions and, despite having to change rowing machines twice in the course of their 100km which they achieved with Grand Prix style efficiency, still managed to set a creditable record time of 6h 13m 48.0s.

60+ team members: Georgina Price, Denise Puzey, Marjorie Roome, Hazel Stainforth, Jill Underwood, Heather Yule, Joe Keating, Alain Mangin, Andy Osborn

Roger’s 8-man 70+ team had no equipment failure dramas. They chose 20 strokes, and settled into a remarkably consistent pattern of 1320m per rotation in setting a record time of 5h 49m 50.2s.

By the end of the row each team member had rowed for 77 sessions. For the statisticians they on average covered a distance of 162 metres at 35 strokes per minute. The average pace was 1 minute 44.9 seconds for every 500 metres.

After the event Roger commented “We have been competitors for over 10 years so I knew the calibre and determination of my teammates, every man performed to his limit and I was proud to be part of this GB team to set a first time world time record. Our target was 6 hours so we think we have put down a challenging time for next team to beat.”

70+ team members: Tommy Gee, John Gibbins, Peter Jones, Tony Lorrimer, Chris Marrow, Tim Sherriff, Roger Stainforth, Tom Yule.

There was no resting on her laurels for Hazel. After a journey from Cornwall home to Durham it was off to Glasgow to run in the Great Scottish Run half marathon on Sunday, 2 October. Accompanied by son, Richard, a former DARC member, she ran a commendable 2h 09m in her first half marathon. “The conditions were perfect but the last 2km were really hard. Perhaps the 100km relay wasn’t the best preparation but I wouldn’t have missed either”, a tired but very happy Hazel smiled.

Jess Eddie returns

Olympic silver medallist Jess Eddie called in at Durham Amateur Rowing Club on Saturday to show the medal she won in Rio to members of the club where she started her rowing career.

Now based in London Jess had spent the last week touring the north-east with fellow Great Britain rowing squad member Nathaniel Reilly-O’Donnell, visiting schools and clubs and inspiring the next generation of athletes.

Jess was a member of the GB Women’s Eight who took silver in Rio on the final day of the rowing competition at Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas, taking part in her third Olympic Games. Now 31 she went to St Leonard’s School in Durham and took up rowing at the age of eight, achieving success with Durham ARC Juniors and representing Great Britain in the World Junior Championships in 2001 while a member of the Club’s Juniors squad.

In 2013 Durham ARC named a lightweight Eight ‘Jessica Eddie’ in her honour, which she officially launched in October of that year.

A banner was unveiled to mark the occasion of Saturday’s visit. After a welcome from Durham ARC President Ian Shepherd Jess addressed the assembled members and spent an hour or so chatting to the current Juniors squad.

This was followed by scratch 8s races for seniors and quads for juniors. Three eights and 4 quads enjoyed some friendly competition before retiring to the clubhouse for a BBQ lunch.

More photos