The award recognises a lifetime of achievement and dedication to the sport of rowing.
Congratulations to all seven members of the rowing community who will receive this
honour, each nominated by different regions from all corners of the country for their
incredible contributions over the years.
Charly Curtis of Durham ARC wins the Northern Region award.
He started coxing at Newcastle Royal Grammar School and after moving to Bede College,
he became a member of DARC. He has since held many committee positions, including
Regatta Secretary for Durham City Regatta, Durham SBH, Durham ARC Vets & Juniors
and Assistant Treasurer.
Charly has been a Durham Regatta Steward for over 25 years, holding various other
committee positions over the year. He is currently Regatta President. First qualifying
as an umpire in 2002, he is one of the region’s most active umpires and officiates
at most of the Northern Region regatta and head races.
Charly is Vice Chair of the Northern Regional Umpiring Committee and also Vice Chair
of the Northern Rowing Council, and is a member of the organising committee for the
Long Distance Sculling Series.
Beryl Crockford Award (for contributions to junior rowing)
The award was set up by Duncan Crockford in memory of his late wife Beryl, who passed
away in 2016 following a tragic bike accident in Australia. Beryl represented GB
at three Olympic Games and was a trailblazer for women’s rowing. Awarded annually
for outstanding contributions to junior rowing, the winners are decided by members
of the British Rowing Junior Committee.
Bill Parker of St Leonard’s School BC/Durham ARC shares the national award with Bryan
Steel. Bill’s citation says:
To introduce rowing to one school with no previous involvement in the activity shows
a high degree of dedication to the sport. To do so in a second school and inspire
pupils to succeed at regional, national and international levels indicates a deep
commitment to rowing and to the development of young people.
After starting his career coaching rowing at Consett Grammar School, Bill moved to
St Leonard’s School – one mile from the River Wear – and it was almost inevitable
that the School would, in a short period, find that it had a boat club of its own
The School had no previous involvement in rowing; it had no boat house, oars or boats.
But Bill possesses a great ability to persuade people and involve them in supporting
young people. No obstacle was allowed to stop young people from rowing. Dedication
to fundraising was exceeded by the commitment to training on and off the water. Success
followed. The British Rowing Almanacs give the facts.
There were national medals in the late 1970s and the first international success
in 1982. In the 1980s Bill was joined by Malcolm Proud and they made a formidable
and winning partnership. The Club regularly achieved 100 wins each season. These
included wins at Women’s Henley, topping the medals table at the 2004 National Schools
Regatta, a Junior World Championship and representation in the England and GB squads.
Bill also took on significant regional roles and continued his involvement with Durham
ARC. Indeed, when he officially retired from St Leonard’s Boat Club, he coached juniors
at Durham ARC to further national success.
Throughout his coaching Bill has been supported by his wife May and his family. We
owe them an immense debt of gratitude and our heartfelt thanks. Bill has shared his
passion for rowing with generations of juniors for over 50 years. He has inspired
juniors to remarkable success and sustained involvement in rowing as adults drawing
on the ethos of excellence and commitment that Bill established as a coach.
Club of the Year Award
The award is for adult club crews with outstanding achievements in the 2019 calendar
year, or over the course of the 2018/19 season. One of five outstanding nominees
mentioned in the national award announcement is Tynemouth RC.
Tynemouth is a small, relaxed and friendly club, established 153 years ago in what
is now North Tyneside. Located in the mouth of the Tyne, the club can go for weeks
without being able to practise on the water, due to the conditions.
They mainly use a couple of stable coxed quads and singles. Two crews were runners-up
in the regional 2019 Sunday League competition. The club is also entering some head
races for the first time in years, some as composite crews with Tyne ARC.
Our growing membership of keen rowers, backed up by the support of senior members
who are true stalwarts, gives us a positive outlook for the future.
Volunteer of the Year Award
The award is for volunteers who have contributed significantly to their sport, for
the benefit of the wider rowing community, in 2019. All nine regional winners made
outstanding contributions in different ways, making it a particularly difficult choice.
The winners for this region are Pauline and Geoff Higgins, Quenn Elizabeth HSBC.
Pauline and Geoff have been involved with Queen Elizabeth High School Boat Club for
over 20 years. They devote all their time to the club and its members.
Their dedication and commitment to the sport is inspirational. This year alone they
have introduced 80 young people to the sport of rowing.
Geoff and Pauline’s enthusiasm for the sport encourages people to get involved with
School or Junior Crew of the Year Award
The award is for school and junior club crews with outstanding achievements (racing
or otherwise) in the 2019 calendar year, or over the course of the 2018/19 season.
The Awards Panel selected the Junior Men’s double from Tees RC as worthy recipients
of the overall national Junior Crew of the Year Award. Included here are some highlights
from their citation.
Success comes in many guises and Callum and Maziyar have each overcome a different
challenge in order to form a competitive crew who have won several heads and regattas
and competed at national events.
Maziyar arrived in the UK in 2017 as an asylum seeker from Iran. On arriving in Stockton,
he was reunited with his Mum, after being separated for four months, and took up
rowing – last enjoyed back in Iran.
Callum, who is a multi-sensory learner, has worked incredibly hard to develop strategies
to control his social anxieties, which have led him to start coaching. He has been
voted in as Junior Captain of Tees RC.
Both Callum and Maziyar have become talented athletes and coaches, generously giving
their time to support the younger club members.
Club Crew of the Year Award
This award is for adult club crews with outstanding achievements in the 2019 calendar
year, or over the course of the 2018/19 season.
A commended nominee was from the Northern Region – the Women’s Masters C 4x from
Talkin Tarn ARC.
This crew had 18 wins as a crew at regattas across the North of England, Scotland
and won three gold medals at the British Rowing Masters Championships in 2019. This
was in W C4x-, W C4+ and NC Int W A-C 4x-.
The crew is from a small club with few members who compete and their ages range from
27 to 57. They train together four to five times a week while fulfilling their roles
as Club President, Club Captain, Vice-Captain and Secretary. Three coach at the club
and one drives the safety boat for training while another tows the club’s trailer.
This crew are not only competing at the highest level for a Masters crew, they are
also building a club for the future.
Rising Star of the Year Award
The award is for young volunteers who have made an exceptional contribution to their
sport and the wider community. All five regional winners are a credit to their clubs
and community. David Squirrell is the Northern Region winner
David has made a significant contribution to the running of Durham College Rowing
(DCR) over his time at Collingwood College, Durham University. Additionally, in his
role as CCBC’s men’s captain, and then president, his organisation has helped drive
the clubs to new heights. Crews had the opportunity to race at events such as BUCS
Regatta, and received their highest ever placement at the Head of the River.
All the while David has kept alive a great atmosphere within the squad. As safety
officer, he’s successfully encouraged clubs to take safety seriously.
But most importantly, he’s brought together, what was once a disparate group of boat
clubs, and helped form a community. Town and gown, university and college, David
has bridged the gap between all and is still striving to close it now.