Category Archives: Club News

Club News and Announcements

Learn to Row courses 2018

Details of this year’s adult and junior learn to row courses are now available.

Junior Courses (11-15): 5 mornings during school holidays, £65.

Easter Holiday Junior Learn to Row

There are still a few places left on the learn to row course for ages 11 to 15 taking place on the second week of the Easter holidays 9th – 13th April 2018. The sessions last 2 hours each day from 9.30am till 11.30am.

Adult Courses (16+): 8 weeks, £95 (inc. British Rowing handbook)

Courses are available commencing on the following dates

  • Sundays w/c 8th April 4pm – 6pm
  • Wednesdays w/c 18th April 10.30am – 12.30pm
  • Fridays w/c 4th May 6.30pm – 8.30pm

Application forms for both courses are available on our website

Junior Formal Dinner

2018 got off to a successful start on January 4th, breaking new ground with a great turnout for the first ever Junior Formal Dinner, organised by the Junior Captains and Vice-Captains Alannah Baldwin, Harry Coe, Katie Strangward and Sam Taylor.

All the junior squads were represented along with coaches and club officials and the meal was followed by music and dancing and presentation of the Junior Oarsman and Junior Oarswoman Awards for the 2017 season to Harry Coe and Gabby Suggett, along with an interesting selection of awards to squad members and coaches

Most Happy – Dom Crilley
Most Smiley – Katie Strangward
Fattest Erg – Kahn Evirgen
Best Coordinated Hair – J14 Girls
Loudest Rower – Jess Cooper
Best Baker – Gabby Suggett
Biggest Party Animal – Natya Priestley-Leach
Best Facial Expressions – Adam Morris

Most Famous Coach on the River Bank – Bill Parker
Most Motherly Coach – Vicky Jackson
Coach who is the Best Photographer – Ray Dominy
Calmest headed Coach in the face of adversity – Mike Rowe
Coach with Best Leggings – Beth Holmes
Coach who is the Biggest Beyonce Fan – Elliot Kay
Coach who is Best Looking in a Pigeon Costume – Mark Bell

A great success, and with seniors and masters providing the waitress service it looks set to be repeated.

Jess Eddie becomes President of Parliamentary Group

Former Durham ARC Junior Jess Eddie took up office on November 9th 2017 as the inaugural Honorary President of the All-Party Parliamentary Rowing Group, initially for a one-year term. The Group consists of MPs and Lords of all political persuasions and meets regularly to discuss issues of importance to the sport and to hear from those involved. The appointment was announced by Group Co-Chair and MP for Hendon Dr Matthew Offord. Roberta Blackman-Woods MP for Durham is also a member. Jess attended her first meeting with the group at Westminster on December 6th.  

Jess was coached in Durham as a junior by Gordon Beattie and represented Great Britain in the World Junior Championships in 2001 while training with the club before going on to win a silver medal with the GB Women’s Eight at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Chairman’s MBE Investiture

On November 21st Durham ARC Chairman Barry Hudson was presented with the MBE by the Duke of Cambridge in an investiture at Buckingham Palace.







Barry was awarded the MBE for services to the Community and to Rowing in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in June, having served on the DARC Committee for 50 years, taking on numerous roles including Secretary and Chairman, as well as carrying out coaching and umpiring duties.

Three River Serpents seeking new members

Dragon Boat Racing is Britain’s fastest growing water sport.  Three River Serpents, based at Durham ARC is the most northerly premier crew in the British Dragonboat Racing Association League and is looking to recruit new members, both male and female.

Club members meet for training at Durham Amateur Rowing Club on Sundays at 10am (all year round), or Wednesdays at 6.30pm (April to October). To take advantage of the offer of three free taster sessions send your details to Jane Kemp on 07932628007 or email JaneKemp@Gateshead.Gov.Uk

See the club poster and taster session leaflet for further details.

If you are interested and would like further information about the club please visit the website at or email Kendal Mayes at

Winning start for Hope at Harvard

Former Durham ARC Junior Hope Cessford who took up a place at Harvard University in the USA this autumn was selected for the Radcliffe Crew Women’s varsity first eight to compete at the Foot of the Charles Regatta on November 11th 2017.  

Raced this year in sub-zero temperatures the event is rowed over the same course as the Head of the Charles and marks the end of the autumn head season.

Radcliffe Crew is the rowing branch of the Harvard Department of Athletics, competing in varsity athletics at Harvard University, the women-only Radcliffe College having merged with the men-only Harvard College in 1976 continues to compete in its traditional black and white under the Radcliffe name.

The eight raced against opposition from other universities in Boston and was fastest of the 17 competing, finishing in 20.26.2, twenty two seconds ahead of Northwestern University.

The culmination of Hope’s time as a Junior at DARC, where she was coached by Gordon Beattie, was selection for the GB Women’s squad for the World Junior Championships in Lithuania in August, rowing in the coxless four that won the B final.

Bernard Robertson (1936-2017)

We are saddened to learn of the death of Bernard Robertson, who was Club Captain between 1983 and 1989.

The family has announced his passing, at the age of 81, on Monday 30th October, following a short illness.

Bernard attended Durham Johnston Grammar School before going on to St. Cuthbert’s Society in 1954 to read Chemistry at Durham University,

He had a lifelong passion for rowing, representing school and University with distinction before spending many years coaching at St. Cuthbert’s Society Boat Club, where he joined his old school coach Stan Turner who had become a tutor at the Society. He then went on to captain Durham Amateur Rowing Club and to chair Durham Regatta.

After a career with Proctor & Gamble he was to return to St. Cuthbert’s Society in 1999 to become Principal.

Read more about his career in St. Cuthbert’s Chronicle.

A true gentleman, his warmth, generosity and laughter will be sorely missed by all.

A service for family and friends is being held at 12pm on Thursday 9th November, Durham Crematorium, South Road, Durham. DH1 3TQ.  With light refreshments afterwards at the Duke Of Wellington, Neville Cross.

Bishop wins in Boston

The first medal in this year’s Head of the Charles Regatta in Boston, Massachusetts on October 21st went to GB’s Tom Bishop, competing for Quintin BC in the Veteran 70+ single sculls.

Tom has connections with DARC dating from the 1970s. Formerly of Durham University he competed for DARC at the 1972 National Championships at Holme Pierrepont, Nottingham, taking a silver medal in the double sculls along with Geoff Potts. In the same year he was a member of the DARC Eight that took part in the Head of the River Race, the first time for 14 years that the club had fielded an eight in the race.

In 1973 he married Durham University graduate Diana Preston, who he had coached the previous year when she became DARC’s first international, representing GB in a single scull at the European Women’s Championships in Brandenburg, East Germany. At this time women members of the club were classed as associates and had no voting rights. The club only agreed to full voting rights for women at the 1975 AGM.

Both Tom and Diana then went on to represent Great Britain at the 1976 Montreal Olympics. After starting a family Diana took a long break, only returning to rowing recently. Since moving to Quintin Tom has teamed up with DARC veterans many times, most recently in a composite Masters F quad at the 2017 World Masters Regatta in Bled.

Geoff Potts

Quintin Boat Club has announced the death of Geoff Potts on October 28th following a heart attack while coaching in a launch at Mortlake Anglian and Alpha BC. His association with Quintin began in the 1970s and lasted until around 2 years ago when he moved to MAA.

Geoff Potts started rowing at Durham School in the 1960s and, along with John Appleby, Gareth Powley, George Nicholson and Tony Bailes, was a member of the coxed four victorious in the Grand Challenge Cup at Durham Regatta in 1966.

The winning crew was to be reunited 50 years later as special guests at the 2016 Durham Regatta.

After leaving school Geoff went on to Durham University and rowed, along with Bill Grant, for DUBC at Henley Royal Regatta between 1968 and 1970 before initially joining Tees Rowing Club where he started his sculling career.

Greater success was to follow however after he moved to DARC

In 1972 a DARC eight competed in the Head of the River Race for the first time since 1958, starting 255 and finishing 35th. The crew comprised Kim Metcalfe, Tom Bishop, Mike Matthews, Fred Snowdon, Ian Shepherd, Bill Grant, Geoff Potts, John Appleby and cox Andy Jaggard.

Later the same year when the first National Championships was held at the new 2000 metre course at Holme Pierrepont, Nottingham, Geoff Potts and Tom Bishop took the silver medal in the double sculls.

Then in 1974 Geoff was selected as Great Britain Lightweight Single Sculler at the World Rowing Championships in Lucerne, Switzerland, the first time that the Championships included events for lightweights. Becoming DARC’s first male international Geoff won the first ever WRC lightweight race and went on to finish 4th overall.

After relocating to London he continued to be acknowledged as a very accomplished veteran sculler at Quintin as well as being highly regarded as a coach. 

Coaching Award for Gordon

Plaudits have been flowing in for Gordon Beattie after he was given the accolade of Coach of the Year for the Durham and Chester-le-Street area in the annual County Durham Sport Awards on October 27th.

Gordon has been coaching for over 40 years as well as carrying out many other duties around the Club on a voluntary basis, and had been looking forward to a well-deserved rest until being persuaded to cycle up and down the riverbanks of the Wear for one more year, helping Hope Cessford achieve her aim of selection for the GB Junior squad for the second successive year.

Hope was selected for the GB coxless four that won the B final at the World Junior Championships in Lithuania in August. She spoke of Gordon as the most influential person in her life. ‘He has taught me the meaning of hard work, dedication and what it takes to be a successful athlete whilst also being a shoulder to cry on’.

Award winners from each of the 4 geographical areas go forward to the County final at the Gala Theatre on January 26th 2018.