Author Archives: Jacki Patrickson

Another world record for inspirational Gill

2014 looks set to be another golden year for DARC super rower, Gill Prescott. Gill, who recently won the North East Sporting Inspiration of the Year Award 2013, broke her own world record for the 55-59 age group at the English Indoor Rowing Championships in Manchester on 3rd March.

Gill took 1/10th of a second from her previous time to complete the 2k trial in 7.20.1.  Later in the day, she also won Gold in the 500m sprint. Commenting that she could have done a better time but was “a bit tired after the 2k” She went on to her thank her coach, Geoff Graham, for his dedication in ensuring she continues to improve her world beating times.

DARC Chairman, Martin Judson, said “Gill is now the most successful rower the Club has ever produced and we are all incredibly proud of her. Another world record is an amazing achievement and it goes to show that you can excel in sport at any age”.

Durham Amateur Rowing Club is currently running Learn to Row courses for adults as part of County Durham Sport’s, “Move into Sport” programme and hopes to attract a broad range of abilities to join its men’s and women’s squads rowing at all levels in the UK and internationally. Later this year DARC will also launch a Rowability course aimed at encouraging people with disabilities to take up the sport.


Notes to editors

Further information on the English Indoor Rowing Championships can be found here:

Further information on DARC’s Learn to Row courses can be found here:


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..

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…


The Launch of the Jessica Eddie

Durham rowing Olympian, Jess Eddie, visited the club on the 6th October to launch our newest racing boat, the “Jessica Eddie”, a lightweight Eight named in her honour.

Jess, who attended St.Leonard’s School in Durham and learned to row on the River Wear at age 8, joined Durham ARC as a teenager before being picked for the GB squad when she was just 16. She has since rowed for Great Britain as a Junior, Under 23 and Senior rower, competing in the GB womens’ 8 in both the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. She most recently finished 4th in the 2013 World Championship.

During the morning she spent an hour coaching our Junior squad and then took the boat for its first spin with a combined crew of lucky women and juniors. Jess took the stroke seat and joked that she “normally sits at Bow side, but would make an exception in this case”. Clive was heard to murmur approval at her long stroke and slow slide before the crew returned to the landing to carry on with the interviews and photographs.

Before the ceremony, Jess took the opportunity to present the club with a framed shirt that she wore when racing in the 2012 Olympics. There were questions from the crowd as to whether it had been washed, and Jess’s mum confirmed that it had.

After the launch, Jess said “To have this boat with my name on it, is an enormous privilege and I’m delighted to be able to launch her. I’m especially pleased that it will be used by the next generation of junior rowers and I hope that they will enjoy their racing just as much as I have enjoyed mine”

DARC President, Bill Parker, said “Jess has been an inspiration to everyone in the club, young and old. We are very proud of everything that she has achieved and look forward to taking her name to Regattas around the country. Our current junior squad has been performing extremely well, but needed a faster boat if they were to win at national level. We hope that “Jessica” will give us the winning edge for this coming season”

The launch was also attended by the Deputy Mayor of Durham, Councillor Jan Blakey who also expressed an interest in coming down and trying out the boat. Committee take note to follow up!

The “Jessica Eddie”, is the result of a lot of hard work in fund raising by many members in the club over the past year. Many, many thanks to all of them, we hope they now get to fully enjoy the rowing fruit of their labours.

Throughout the morning, Jess was a fantastic role model for rowing, providing excellent coaching, pitching in with carrying boats, talking to all members of the club and fitting in the press too. We all wish her every success in the coming years and hope she gets back to full fitness soon.

The launch was featured on Tyne Tees, the Northern Echo, Durham Advertiser and Durham Times as well as making the headlines on the British Rowing website.