Monthly Archives: April 2016

Help for Heroes

For the past few weeks the club has been running a weekly course in partnership with British Rowing and Help for Heroes, aimed at forces veterans from Phoenix House in Catterick. The course is led by Debbie Connolly. Some of those attending have expressed a wish to continue after the course so it is an initiative we would like to continue.

Boat Race Ball 2016

The 2nd Boat Race Ball took place on 26 March 2016.  After the drama the previous day in the Boat Race itself when the Cambridge women ​somehow managed to row themselves out from under the water, and the Oxford men won by 2 and a half lengths, we wondered if we would have as exciting an evening.  The answer is – we did.  This was probably one of the best social events held at DARC in recent years. The room was dressed, the tables were set, the food was prepared and the ​band ‘The Pretty Weeds’ were ready to rock!

We had a great meal courtesy of Gene with help from Marion and others, of prawn cocktail, Boeuf Bourguignon and a choice of desserts​. ​The veggie meals were from NOSH – creative and delicious – chickpeas, shredded tofu and vegetables – tasted better than any chickpeas I’ve ever cooked with! The wine flowed and the conversation was lively.  Once our lovely Junior girls had cleared the tables The Pretty Weeds started up. It was lovely to see Rita invite ​(or maybe ‘drag’ would be a better word) – ​Clive on to the floor to start the dancing, which went on for several energetic and fun hours, and had most of the diners dancing.  It made me realise what a large ‘family’ the club is as dancers intermingled into different groups and all seemed to be entirely comfortable dancing to music from any era. The range of music played by the band covered all tastes from The Rolling Stones to Uptown Funk via Michael Jackson.  Deb said the next day that she had loads of blisters which only goes to show just how long she was dancing…..

It was a great night at DARC – huge thanks to all who volunteered and made it such a great success.

(Report by Gabby and Shirley, photos from John)

John A Short

The funeral of John Short took place on April 13th. John was a long-standing member of Durham ARC and was in his 91st year when he died on March 29th. He first joined the club in the late 1940s, after being in the RAF, and served subsequently in several administrative roles.

He was a member of Durham ARC’s first ever crew to enter the Head of the River Race on March 24th 1956. Coached by Peter Burdess the crew of B.W. Fenner, J.A. Short, A. Ruddock, I.C. Shepherd, J.W. Golightly, J. Cook, F. Weatherley, J.H. McGregor (stroke) and J. Biglands (cox) finished in equal 103rd position out of 260 entries in a time of 22m 03 sec.

Although success as an oarsman was limited he was an umpire for 20 years and during the 1960s coached mainly novice crews. It was soon realised that he had a gift for administration, serving as Club Treasurer for a time. He was appointed as Club Secretary in 1961. Apart from a short break to concentrate on project management this was a position he was to hold until 1974.

During the late 1960s and early 1970s he was heavily involved with the management of the project to relocate the clubhouse to its new site, and he organised ventures such as a weekly dance in the Town Hall on Saturday nights to raise funds for the project. During this time he was in charge of expenditure and dealt with grants from the Sports Council and other bodies. The new clubhouse officially opened on December 22nd 1971.

He also acted as Regatta Secretary for both Durham ARC and Durham Regatta, and was Club Chairman between 1979 and 1994.

In recent years John helped with the Explore Rowing scheme and became involved with the club’s recreational rowers. Until recently he was a regular visitor to the club and a familiar face on the riverbank.

Professionally he worked as a Legal Executive for the Miners Union at Redhills, dealing primarily with miners’ illness compensation claims.

The service at Durham Crematorium was conducted by Rev John Lund and was well attended by club members. John Short is survived by 2 daughters, Kate and Rachel and grandchildren.

North-East rowers move closer to Rio after Europeans selection

Olympic champion Kat Copeland will reprise her promising partnership with Charlotte Taylor after four rowers from the North East were named in the GB Rowing Team for next month’s European Championships.

Double Olympian Jess Eddie continues in the women’s eight and fellow Durham rower Will Fletcher will once again race alongside Richard Chambers in the lightweight men’s double scull, provided his partner recovers from a minor hand injury in time for the regatta from May 6-8.

Cresswell’s Jamie Kirkwood will contest the lightweight men’s single scull in Brandenburg, Germany – the first major international competition of the Rio 2016 Olympic season.

Among the crews looking to defend their European title will be the lightweight women’s double of Copeland, from Ingleby Barwick in Stockton-upon-Tees, and Taylor.

Last year’s regatta in Poznan, Poland was the first time they had raced together and they stormed to victory in the final, setting the tone for an encouraging summer which climaxed with silver at the World Championships in Aiguebelette, France.

Fletcher and Chambers also claimed World silver in the lightweight men’s double last year, a repeat of their first race as a partnership at the European Championships.

Eddie, an Olympic finalist at Beijing 2008 and London 2012, looks well on course for a third Games appearance in Rio after seeing off fierce internal competition for a place in the women’s eight at the Europeans.

She is joined in the boat by fellow Olympians Katie Greves, Frances Houghton and Melanie Wilson, as well as 2013 World pair champion Polly Swann – Eddie’s partner at the recent Olympic-season Trials.

Zoe Lee, Karen Bennett, Olivia Carnegie-Brown and cox Zoe de Toledo complete a crew that Eddie has high hopes for.

“The pairs racing at the Trials was some of the best we have ever had and I think our eight has a real chance of standing up there on the podium, hopefully in the middle of it,” she said.

“That’s where we are aiming and that’s what the culture of our team really encourages us to believe in.”

The European team announcement is the first major selection of the Olympic season, with rowers keen to impress in Brandenburg as they look to secure their seats for Rio.

Sir David Tanner, GB Rowing Team Performance Director, said: “We are clearly ambitious to do well in Rio and will race and then review the Europeans combinations announced today.”

The full team selection for the European Championships can be found at

Nathaniel Reilly-O’Donnell – who went to the same school as Eddie, St Leonard’s in Durham – will race in the men’s pair at the Varese World Cup in Italy from April 15-17 with Mat Tarrant. They are the reigning World coxed pair champions.

Kirkwood will also be racing in Varese, in the lightweight double with Zak Lee-Green, before heading to the Europeans in the single.

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