Monthly Archives: December 2013

Juniors raise £600 at bag pack!

The juniors spent 3 hours bag packing at Sainsbury’s at Pity Me on the night of 30th December – a fairly quiet night as shopping numbers go, but the  amount raised was a whopping £601.54.
The junior Christmas Breakfast raised £76
The junior Christmas fayre raised £570  for the Phillipine Disaster Appeal ( increased to £1070 on a £4£ Charity Matching scheme through Lloyds bank).
A further Bag pack is arranged at Morrisons Bishop Auckland at Easter .

All I want for Christmas is …

And so, to end the year, “Glad tidings of comfort and … “, no, sorry, can’t remember the line …

You may, or may not know that, Junior Co-ordinator, Alan Granlund, has purchased a ‘private boat’’ –  a splendid’ Sims coxless quad – which is already in use by the Junior squad. Alan, not adverse to a bit of subterfuge, and some strategic ‘misinformation’ (are we talking about a DARC coach?) managed to arrange for his wife, Joy, to be walking past the clubhouse last Saturday morning, and therefore to be around for the formal boat naming.

(Joy Granlund was the club’s first Ladies captain some years ago, and a successful rower in her own right, with National Championship wins, and many other wins all over the country, and she, and her crew, also represented England in the Home Countries Match.)

So, here we are, the crowd assembled, the boat ready to be named, her bows demurely concealed in festive, Christmas wrapping.

At this point, President. Bill Parker, (no stranger to a bit of subterfuge himself) “forgot” the name of the boat, and picked, at random, a bystander from the crowd, to name the quad ..

“Ah Joy, just rip off the Christmas wrapping paper to name the boat ….”

Joy, confused, stepped up, …

I NAME THIS BOAT, THE … (did I imagine that the Mens squad, a la “Strickly” entoned the boom-bum, boom-bum, boom-bum …)


Shock, surprise, (swiftly followed by, .. someone is going to have to pay for this.)

“Alan, you just wait till I GET YOU home ..”

“Looks like, I’ll be getting MY OWN DINNER tonight”

Recovering from the shock, Joy (that’s JOY, not Joy,) , in the familiar tradition, poured champagne over the bows and wished crews using “her boat” continued success for 2014, to add to their “many wins”.

Joy’s mother Joan, who is housebound and could not attend, was   ‘over the moon ‘  when she found out. And Joy, later, declared herself honoured, and delighted with the day ..

For the record, the Juniors Christmas Breakfast, was attended by 35 junior members, their parents, coaches and other club members. Aidan Rushforth won the ‘Chocolate Hamper’ raffle, a large quantity of chocolate and bacon sandwiches were consumed, cards and gifts exchanged, and generally an enjoyable morning was had all around. Donations for ‘breakfast’ amounted to £76 which will go to the clubs equipment fund.
On behalf of the coaching team, Alan Granlund would like to thank everyone for the many cards and gifts received by the coaches.
Thanks to all the parents who helped in the kitchen and supported the event.

Glad tidings of great comfort … and Joy, comfort and Joy,

cos, All I want for Christmas is “Joy”

Happy Christmas

Gill named Outstanding Performer of the Year

It’s been another award-winning week for the unstoppable Gill Prescott.

On Thursday 5th December she won the Northern Echo Local Heroes Award for Outstanding Performance of the Year, after winning the Durham Regional Award. Two days later, she followed this with  a Championship Record breaking performance at the British Indoor Rowing Championships in Cardiff on the 7thDecember.

Gill’s time of 7.23.3 smashed the existing 55-59 age record by 5 seconds and was only 2 seconds slower than her own world record.  Also joining Gill on the winner’s podium that day was erging supremo Roger Stainforth, in the 65-69 group, with a winning time of 7.13.

On receiving the award for Outstanding Performance, Gill said “It is lovely to receive this recognition however I am just doing something I really enjoy!!… Geoff, as ever, also deserves the recognition as a first class coach”.

Club Chairman, Martin Judson, commented;”Gill, Roger & Geoff work extremely hard to reach these levels of performance. There is no secret to what they do – it is based on many hours of tough training. This aspiration & commitment is a wonderful example to everyone at the club & the reward is continuing outstanding results. We applaud their success.”

Just to recap, Gill’s achievements for this year have included:

  • Winning the British Indoor Rowing Championships for the eighth time (updated to include this latest win!)
  • Breaking her own world record for an indoor 2k
  • 3 Gold Medals at the British Masters
  • 2 wins at Henley Masters Regatta and
  • 5 at the World Masters in Varese in September 

So, well done again to Gill, Geoff and Roger for representing Durham so well at all of their events and continuing thanks to Roger for sharing his erg tips with the Recreational Rowers on Monday mornings. Maybe we’ll see some more entries in the older age groups next year? What a great end to 2013..

Christmas Fayre raises £1071 for Philippines Disaster Appeal

The Christmas Fayre was a great success ( it would have been nice if more club members had called in for a free coffee and mince pie) but we raised £571 on the day and as a result of a £for£ charity match from my employer (Lloyds Bank) the final total going to the  Disasters Emergency Fund -Phillipines Aid is £1071 and a magnificent result for 2 hours work.  The Tombola sold out within an Hour The cakes stall as usual was very popular and The Powerlifters took away all that remained there for a donation.

Alan Granlund

Thanks to the Juniors for leading this charity event and to all the others who took part and supported the morning,

Roly Metcalfe

I am sorry to have to inform you that Roly Metcalfe, a long standing member of DARC, passed away peacefully on Friday, after a short illness.

Roly was a member of DARC for many years, indeed he was one of the Vets who introduced me to rowing over 20 years ago, coxing his crew at Tideway several times as a Junior.

More recently he has been at the forefront of fundraising at the club raising money for club funds and St Cuthberts Hospice, amongst others, with his band.

Friends are invited to join family for his funeral next Tuesday 10th December. The service will be at St Cuthberts Church (North Road – Durham) at 12.15 then at Durham Crematorium at 1pm. Everyone is invited to join us afterwards at the club for refreshments.

Mark Bell
General Manager

Richard Mortimer writes:-

Roly held many roles within the Durham Regatta Committee and will be greatly missed. He served as Regatta Secretary for a number of years and was instrumental in forging links with many local bands, along with being a very keen supporter of our various video projects, that help us to showcase the regatta at its best.

After stepping down as Secretary, Roly took on the Sponsorship Secretary role and was instrumental in helping to increase our sponsorship income and bringing in a number of title sponsors.

During the regatta weekend Roly always played a central role in the start marshaling areas and was also a member of Barry Owen’s timing team in past times.

Roly was always cheerful and willing to help. He will be sorely missed.

DARC Profile – Chairman, Martin Judson

The first in a regular series of DARC profiles – a chance to find out more about people in key roles and members of the different squads.

Martin is a local GP,  he rowed at Newcastle University and then with the, now defunct, City Of Newcastle. He’s been a member of DARC since 1977, and now rows at 6 in the Masters E/F eight (except when recovering from a dislocated elbow playing 5 a side football.– competitive or what!)

How did you get into rowing?

My mother had been an athlete in Berlin at the start of the war. She injured her ankle and was advised to take up rowing to strengthen it. At the age of 15, I was looking for a sport, Fencing was a disaster for me – even the girls beat me. So my mother suggested rowing.

Proudest rowing moment

Winning the BUSF (British Universities) silver in 1976. We were pipped by UL, with Oxford and Cambridge well behind us. I was rowing at 6 and coming into the finish the stern of UL came back into view, we were coming back fast, but couldn’t quite catch them, but after the finish several UL internationals were slumped over their oars …

A slightly older Martin, rowing at 2 in the DARC F4, losing out by just .6 of a second at the World Masters at Duisberg in 2012.

And below rowing at 6, winning Henley Masters F eights in 2011.

Most embarassing rowing experience

I don’t like to talk about it ..

But it would be either ..

During my A levels sculling at York Spring. Coming into Scarborough bridge, I was 5 lengths up .. I clipped the buoy and rolled over.

Or, in the pair, with Dave at Nottingham, in the Semis. The first 2 were to go through to the final. We were ahead at 1800 metres. I was steering, I hit the buoy, the chain wrapped around my oar, the boat spun through 90 degrees, we stopped, and were unable to untangle from it, now we were in 5th. I still wake up sweating, thinking about it. I’ve never steered the pair since.

Top training tip

Stick at it, miles make champions

If I wasn’t rowing I’d be …

getting fat probably

Its panto season so your Genie wish for DARC

… a 2k lake has appeared next to the Club

(Martin you normally get 3 wishes, but I think you’ve gone a bit overboard on the 1st one, so that’s your lot)

How do you see your role as Chairman?

To help guide the Club and help it develop during my term

What can DARC members expect to see from you over the next 2 years

Me rowing at 6 in the eight ..Spending more time down the Club as I retire from work …

I want to help improve facilities, and improve equipment, and maintain the stable financial base

Tell us a rowing joke

You know you are a rower when you start mindlessly obeying all small people

(Thanks Martin, I might need to check that out with Emma)





Real Veterans Day Out

Mick Downworth, of the Mens Development Squad, is an outreach worker for forces Veterans and their families in Gateshead. So, last thursday 28th November, Mick had arranged a day out, at the club, for this ‘Gateshead Veterans Hub’.

Some of the veterans had suffered injuries and disabilities and have served in places such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Bosnia, Kosovo, Northern Ireland and the Falklands.

The twelve visitors enjoyed rowing in the tank at Maiden Castle, on the river in coxed quads, followed by tea, cakes and bacon butties in the clubhouse.

A huge thank you to all those who helped. Everyone had a fabulous day to remember.

Rutherford Head – Shocking weather – Great Results

D.A.R.C. crews were greeted by some shocking weather when they arrived on the Tyne, for the popular Rutherford Head on 30th November Instead of the apocryphal gale force winds, snow blizzards and ‘sinking’  river conditions there was … a gentle breeze, sunshine, and a calm river.

Facing the shame of bar conversations that were less about, “arctic winds, exposure and frozen digits”, and more about, “needing more sun block and a touch more lip balm”, DARC rowers settled for racing the opposition rather than battling the conditions.

Yet again, the outstanding Juniors came up smelling of roses, (and a little bit of the Tyne). Alan Granlund writes: – “The WJ18 4x Lauren, Jessica, Carina and Katie beat a field of 5 crews by a convincing twenty seconds in their ‘new’ Sims 4x, beating many senior quads in the process. We had entered two eights from the Junior boys squad, but accident and injury reduced this to a J18 eight, in a strong field of eight crews. Our conglomerate Junior eight won, beating George Watsons College narrowly, by just three seconds – a great result. In Division two the girls J16 eight (in Jess Eddie) rowed in a strong WJ18 event . In a field of six J18 crews they finished a good second behind a crew of GB triallists, but well ahead of the remaining 4 crews. The MJ18 4+ despite a crew juggle due to illness won their event. Finally the Mj18 4x came a close second in a field of four – three wins and three second places, an excellent result all round.

The Masters Mens F four won their section in Division 1, as did the Mens F eight, in Division 2, with a comfortable victory over Tyne. And Gill Prescott won IM2 quad sculls with her Strathclyde composite.

The emerging Womens Masters squad, fielded a relatively inexperienced, but strong, D eight. Facing a more seasoned composite crew of Tyne United, Tyne and Talkin Tarn, the result was always going to be close. And 1500 metres from the finish the winner was still in doubt. But after a controlled race, the DARC crew mounted a gutsy and determined challenge, in the closing stages, to pull back several lengths and record a 17 second victory.

Not forgetting several first timers, in novice and development crews who braved the .. (this is where it all goes to rats) – completely BENIGN  conditions, and gained some valuable  experience.

And so the sun set over the Tyne on a lovely day. Let’s hope next year we can get back to normality, with some thoroughly miserable conditions.

Gill shortlisted for Outstanding Performance of the Year

Not content with breaking world records and winning over 30 events this year, Gill Prescott is now through to the finals of the Northern Echo Local Heroes Awards 2013. Gill won the Sporting Achievement of the Year Award at the County Durham Sports Awards in October and has now been shortlisted for the Award for Outstanding Performance in the regional awards, which will be announced on 5th December.

We’re all aware of how phenomenal Gill is, but it is great to see her achievements being recognised by a broader audience across the North East. It’s also a great acknowledgement of the time and expertise that Geoff Graham, Gill’s Coach has provided to her training over the 7 years that Gill has been competing.

On being nominated Gill said “It is lovely to receive this recognition however I am just doing something I really enjoy!!… but I hope it will give the sport and the club some good publicity and Geoff the recognition he deserves as a first class coach”.

Just to recap, Gill’s achievements for this year have included:

  • Winning the British Indoor Rowing Championships for the seventh time.
  • Breaking her own world record for an indoor 2k
  • 3 Gold Medals at the British Masters
  • 2 wins at Henley Masters Regatta and
  • 5 at the World Masters in Varese in September 

She has been an inspiration for rowers across the club and is a target for many of those DARC members discovering rowing later in life. If only we could achieve half of her commitment! Geoff and Gill’s dedication to the sport has motivated others to aim for and achieve success at all levels of competition and they continue to set the standard for focus and strength in training for us all.

So, good luck to Gill at the Awards on the 5th and well done to Geoff for all his commitment to ensuring Gill performs at her very best. They are already  heroes to every member of DARC, if only there was a voting button…