PCC Update

Happy New Year
A Happy New Year to all paddlers! The race group celebrated the festive season with a post paddle feast and presentation of the Senior and Junior Lynn Francis Club Trophies.  This year the senior trophy was awarded to Hazel B for her helpfulness with the Club and determination in the boat.  Hazel did the intro to race boats evening course in summer 2017 and raced with her son in the Nationals in 2018.  The junior trophy was awarded to Daisy for her consistent effort in both marathon and sprints and moving up to a Cougar from a beginner’s boat.

Frank Luzmore Race
On 6th January we competed in the Frank Luzmore Race.   This was a 20.5 km race with three portages.  About 150 boats K2s and C2s took part. The weather was fine, and the flow slow compared to recent years, so no records were broken.  The fastest boar on the water was the Chelmsford crew of Keith Moule and Matthew Johnson who completed the race in 1:25.13 in an exciting finish with Matthew Bowley (BPR) and Tim Pendle (NOR) only three seconds behind them. 

The fastest Pangbourne paddler was Jarvis M who completed the U18 men’s in 1:40.25 paddling with a partner from Devizes.  James B and Peter W had a solid performance in their C2 missing the third-place podium for Senior Mixed B by 30s. Fay B and Caroline W had an impressive race breaking the 2-hour barrier by three seconds.  Vicky M and Liz from Basingstoke had an interesting start with boats colliding, but their skilled paddling kept them afloat. 

They were the top all female C2 crew, also beating the 2-hour barrier.  Steve M and Paul A came in in 1:53.18.   I spotted a seal in the water just after Teddington but cannot claim that this slowed me down. 

Charles Hicks Canal Challenge
The next race is the Charles Hicks Challenge at Mytchett, home of Basingstoke Canal Canoe Club on Saturday 26th January.  13 miles and 10 portages.  

Watersides and Devizes to Westminster
If you are not competing and are willing to help, marshals are needed for the Waterside Series (contact Bill Whittaker) and Devizes to Westminster, particularly the Bruce Tunnel (contact Adrian Wheeler).  Any help gratefully received. 

AGM Chairman’s Report

This has been a momentous year. The site that we are on is owned by the Pangbourne Parish Council and the building we are in is leased by the District Council from the Parish Council.

The District Council, along with most other local authorities, are in severe financial difficulties and they tried, unsuccessfully as it turned out, to run the Centre on a break-even basis. They then looked to the private sector to take over the running of the building but there were no takers. One Company would have taken the building but they wanted to install a gym on the first floor and subsequent testing showed that the floor was not strong enough to take the weight of the equipment and potential users.                                

So the Council then offered our Charity the opportunity to take over the running of the Centre. We then prepared a Business Plan which showed that we had sufficient reserves to ensure that come what may we could run the Centre for at least 3 years. The Business Plan was a joint effort by all Trustees but thanks are especially due to David Appleton for undertaking most of the spadework and to Sarah Westall for giving the Plan a presentation polish.

So we took the plunge and told the Council that we would be prepared to go ahead and since April 2018 we have been running the Centre. The Council, who will need the approval of the Parish Council, have promised us a lease for an initial three years, which will be extended indefinitely if we make a financial success of running the Centre.

I did see and commented on a draft Lease in June but unfortunately have heard nothing since. I would add that the Parish Council have been 100% in favour of the charity taking over the running of the Centre, so no problem there. And just for the record can I say that I have a 30 year background in local government and I know where the bodies are buried but I can assure you that no deep-seated skulduggery is afoot. I don’t see the delay as a cunning ploy by the Council to see if we make a success of running it and to then flog it off. We will get our Lease eventually.

The figures that we were given by the Council showed that they were spending over £50K a year running the Centre. Here I want to pay the warmest of tributes to Trustee Steve Ellis, who heads up our Facilities team, comprising Nick Hatchett, Chris Whitehead, Bill Whitaker,  plus Jonnie London and Robin Tilbury. Thanks to their heroic efforts the cost of running the building has been greatly reduced – one can not be precise because until we get a lease the Council are still picking up the utility bills, and the cost of some of the work that is needed on the structure should in our view be picked up by the Council rather than ourselves. But in very broad terms we appear to have reduced expenditure by as much as 35-40%.

Turning to income we have our membership income of around £5K and again a warm thank you to all those Club members who run our evening courses, which bring in £10K. We have discovered that letting income – thank you again Sarah Westall this time for handling the bookings, generates an income of £16K, so with an existing income of around £31K we are close to break=even. That is an incredible result in such a short timescale and it would not have been possible without your efforts .

However at the moment the Centre is inactive during the day as regards outdoor activities. We did not rush into filling this void because of TUPE (Transfer of Undertakings) legislation. If TUPE had applied to our takeover we would have had to take over existing paid staff. We are past that potential problem now and I am pleased to say that we have reached agreement with Dave Hopper of the Outdoor Academy who from this April will hire the downstairs of the Centre and our equipment on weekdays and holidays to run a schools programme of activities.

The additional income will of course secure us financially and if Dave Hopper makes a success of his new venture, as I am sure he will, that will benefit us even more. Dave will now be approaching schools who formerly used the Activities Team, West Berkshire and will also be recruiting instructors. So if any Club members know of schools who might be interested or are personally interested in becoming an Instructor could they get in touch with Kevin in the first place.

The upstairs office is much larger than we need and another proposal, which is being investigated, is the possibility of Pangbourne Physio Centre paying us to use part of the office area as an exercise Centre.

I mentioned how supportive Pangbourne Parish Council have been. I chanced to meet their Chairman Rob Holden in the street two days ago and he told me that the Pangbourne Business Forum had raised over £500 at the Xmas festivities and that sum, generously topped up to £1000 by local MP Alok Sharma was being donated to us.

In addition Pangbourne Rotary Club have made us their nominated charity for receiving the proceeds of the Pangbourne Art Exhibition – April 12-14th. This is held in the Village Hall, as the Centre is not big enough, but I hope you will support the event as the more support there is the larger the donation to us. We expect that donation to also be around the £1000 mark.

 It has always been one of my maxims in life that buildings don’t make organizations, people do. Ensuring our Charity is successful is very much a team effort. It is no point having a magnificent Centre if it is not being used.

Just by becoming a member you contribute to that success but as this Charity is entirely run by volunteers, there are some among us whom I want to mention by name. You probably know the famous saying by Napoleon, the pig in George Orwell’s  ‘Animal Farm’ – all animals are equal but some are more equal than others – I have already mentioned Nick, Chris and Bill on the Facilities Team. They have done tremendous work. Step up for a small liquid recognition.

Communication with the membership as well is vitally important in any organisation and particularly in one such as ours with no paid staff. So step up Donna Hatchett and Corinna Baillie with grateful thanks for all that you do.

Of the Trustees I have already mentioned David Appleton, Steve Ellis and Sarah Westall. I have not so far said anything about our Treasurer, Tony Fitzgerald, but we would be lost without him. He has a full-time job and really busts a gut for us. Ed Edwards, Bob Feuillade, Alan Brown and Kevin Dennis are our activity squad – liaising with our many leaders – ensuring that we are an active charity and all our activities are safe.

Sadly we are losing two of them, who are stepping down.  David Appleton has been a tower of strength to me as regards the business side of running the Trust. He came with detailed knowledge of the inner workings of West Berks Council and that too has been tremendously helpful. Tim Metcalfe is also going as he is standing down from the West Berks Council after many years. To be honest, with David and Tim on our side I sometimes almost felt sorry for those on the other side trying to argue the West Berks case! Tim it was who organized the very successful Race night on September 7th, which raised £1100 for the Trust. Step up David and Tim for some more liquid refreshment.

When David Appleton steps down at the end of this meeting I shall be losing both a friend   and a Vice-Chairman. It is a matter for the Trustees rather than this meeting but I just wanted you to know that I shall be nominating Steve Ellis to succeed David as Vice-Chairman. He has done a magnificent job heading up the maintenance team, and I am sure he will be a worthy successor to David .

I am also very pleased that Joy Jamieson has volunteered to become a Trustee – that makes two lady Trustees and as Joy has agreed to act as our Secretary that is another load off my mind.

I will finish by mentioning the Adam Vaughan fund. Adam used to be a member of Adventure Dolphin. When he was at Cardiff University and Vice-Chairman of the University kayaking club, he went on an expedition to the Andes and was accidentally drowned. His parents then donated £1600 to us to set up a fund in his memory to fund either white water safety and rescue training  and/or kayak coaching training- aimed at young people who would both benefit from but would find it difficult to fund it themselves .

Thank you all for your support. 

Clive Williams

10th January 2019

A team to be proud of

A team to be proud of

Congratulations to all of our volunteer members who received awards at British Canoeing’s Southern Region (Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and Hampshire) award ceremony on Tuesday 20th November, held in Pangbourne.

Attended by various clubs throughout the region, our members received awards for long service, impact and volunteering.

Club Impact Award for 2018
Jointly to Ian Blatchley and John Bethell

Young Volunteer Coach of the Year
Ellie Hatchett

15 Years Service Award for Services to the Southern Region

Kevin Dennis

Outstanding Contribution and 25 Years Service

Adrian Moon
Alan Brown
Cliff Coombes
Ed Edwards
Ian Blatchley
Ian Flanders
John Bethell
Ken Tomkins
Maggie Dennis
Sue Harris
Vicky Metcalfe

15 years service
Andrew Middleton
Bill Whitaker
Claire Hardwick
Colin Greaves
Mark Edwards
Ian Palmer
Kevin Dennis
Lizzy Feuillade
Paul Atherton
Penny Tomkins
Steve McCluskey
Tim Metcalfe

Well done to everyone

Adventure Dolphin launches new Paddlesport Section

Jack Hulse, one of the Paddlesport Team Leaders said: “We are keen to create new opportunities for our younger members to come together and try something new. The sessions will be split into two groups, and following Adventure Dolphin tradition, they have been named “The Penguins” for our 11-14 year olds and “The Dolphins” for those aged 15-18 years.

Each session will enable participants to develop their skills as we prepare for a special Halloween Spooktacular event on Saturday 27 October 2018, where Paddlesport members will compete against each other to win prizes.”

Session times
The sessions will run fortnightly on Sunday mornings. Sign-in is from 9.30am, to be on the water for 10am, with a 12noon finish.

Don’t forget, the Sunday morning paddle is on at the same time, so Paddlesport members could leave their adults (1 star holders +) with Nick, Chris and Don for a paddle too!

How to become a Paddlesport member
To be eligible you must:
– Be aged 11-18 years old from 1 September 2018
– Be a current member of Adventure Dolphin
– And have attended at least a Paddlesport Fun course or above

If you meet all of the above criteria, please register your interest by emailing: paddlesport@adventuredolphin.co.uk

Paddlesport Spooktacular event
To enter the Spooktacular event, you must be a Paddlesport member (or an associated family member). So, don’t forget to put the date in the diary and further details will follow nearer the time.

Paddle boarding comes to AD

It was a warm Sunday afternoon. The ducks quacked and the swans preened.

The sun was out and 13 people turned up to our inaugural Stand Up Paddle Boarding sessions. We had a fully booked session. We had both families and individuals participate.

We toured around the Mill Pond, Lock Cut and went up to the islands. We covered how to paddle stroke, reverse paddle turn, and the tricky step back turn.

All participants did very well. We had a 100% success rate where everyone stood up on their paddle board; and this includes some who previously had not been able to do that.

We had a great day paddling amongst the ducks and the swans.

Thanks to The Outdoor Academy for the SUP loan and to Claire and Penny for their support.

We are set to hold another session on 30th September. Visit our online calendar for further information.

Abingdon Round and Swift Ditch

On Sunday 1st July a group of 21 Adventure Dolphin members met at the paddler friendly Abingdon Marina to sample the Thames, the River Ock and – a perennial favourite of the club – Swift Ditch (this latter always known as Swift Ditch by paddlers but more boringly identified as merely “Back Water” by the Ordnance Survey on their maps).

The group met with a typical mixed bag of craft – kayak, OC solo and OC tandem – and the paddle was ably lead by Ed Edwards assisted by Claire Hardwick, Ian Flanders and Adrian Moon. Ed doubled as our tour guide for the day with enlightening snippets about the buildings and entertainment opportunities of Abingdon appearing to know a great deal about Abingdon jail and which pubs were best to impress girlfriends.

After the obligatory faffing, and Claire’s comprehensive “A to G” briefing, we left Abingdon Marina and set off upstream on the Thames but soon left the major river by passing under the old iron bridge at the entrance to the River Ock. The name Ock apparently originates from a Celtic word meaning salmon – a useless piece of information from Adrian.

The Ock was at a better level than might have been expected after the dry spell of weather and after a few hundred metres paddling and wading upstream we reached the spot at which a portage took us over onto the Wilts and Berks Canal and our return via a small shoot back onto the lower Ock. Back on the Thames Ed put on his tour guide hat and took us on a small diversion into the mill stream requiring some undergrowth removal by Claire (quicker on the draw with the pruning saw than Ian on this occasion).
Having passed up through Abingdon Lock (far too hot for all that portaging business) we headed across the top of the weir into the upper mill stream (more pruning work) and on to a suitably shady spot in the Abbey Gardens that happened to be in striking distance of toilets and an ice cream van – what more could we want.

Our numbers swelled (by 1) after lunch with the arrival of Jane Edwards who hadn’t been able to join us earlier as she had been otherwise occupied with the latest addition to the Edwards clan, one Quinn Alexander, born to son Ash and partner Kate in the early hours of that morning.

Lunch having been duly consumed we headed back across the top of the weir and on up the Thames towards the highlight of the day, Swift Ditch. The entrance to this gem, and the original course of the Thames, involves a 2 metre high drop over a weir at the former flash lock. A number of our group entertained us here by taking a cooling swim – their maiden swim in some cases, no names mentioned. Having restored all parties to their respective boats the paddle down Swift Ditch went without further incident and provided some welcome shady trees and respite from the sun and high temperatures that we have become accustomed to in recent weeks. Unusually for Swift Ditch no pruning work was needed.

Just a few hundred metres below Abingdon Marina Swift Ditch re-joins the Thames and the circuit was completed – a varied trip just a little different than the conventional downstream paddles we are more used to taking. Thanks to Ed who manged to stay awake all day despite having been involved, like Jane, in the early morning run out for that Edwards family addition.

 

To see all the pics click here.

Leadership Training Workshops

Claire Hardwick and Ian Flanders are currently running a series of Leader Training Workshops aimed at three star paddlers (Kayak/Open Canoe), who are considering taking their coaching or leadership awards, or just want to increase their paddling knowledge and confidence. These sessions are also open to younger members aged 14 and up, or anyone interested in the Paddlesport Activity Assistant Award.

The next sessions are:-

Sunday 29th July – Sea Kayak Skills, rescues and rolling.

Sunday August 12th – Foundation Safety Rescue Training Skills

We will be continuing on from the session on the 17th June. However, you do not need to have attended in June to attend this session.
To book your place click here.

Paddlesport Activity Assistant

Many club members are not coaches or qualified leaders, yet they do perform the role of assisting within groups and in running sessions. There is now a British Canoeing award available which recognises these skills. It is open to anyone 14 years and above and is ideal for young paddlers. In some ways this award replaces the old Cadet Leader scheme.

There are more details on the British Canoeing website.
https://www.britishcanoeing.org.uk/courses/paddlesport-activity-assistant
Don’t let the paperwork put you off. There are no requirements to attend a formal training course.

Many of our helpers already have sufficient skills to qualify for the award. Some may want some short training sessions and assistance in completing the log book.

We hope to offer training sessions for anyone interested in gaining this award.
For further information, or to show interest in this scheme please contact Claire Hardwick via tripsplanning@adventuredolphin.co.uk

CPD Updates for coaches

There has been some delay, but all coaches who attended our Standards Day event earlier in the year (25th March) should now have received an email from British Canoeing (BC) to confirm that they have an 18 month CPD update in their coach record.
Please check your coaching file on the BC website to ensure that your CPD points have registered.

Top tip: Sign onto BC website- Look at the Top right – Sign In, (Use BC number or your email address if you can’t remember log in details) – My profile – Credentials – You will find a list of your credentials – active and expired Awards, courses etc.
Remember – the club can only deploy coaches that maintain their “Update” status. Coaches who have allowed their qualifications to lapse can still coach with us, but have to be supervised by a qualified coach and do not count as a coach when we calculate coach to participant ratios.
For further information regarding the update requirements visit: https://www.britishcanoeing.org.uk/coaching-leadership/support-recognition/coach-update-scheme

A classic paddle – St Patrick’s Stream, 6th May, report by Ed Edwards

Once again we were lucky to have a blue skies paddle on the Thames. Starting at the Wokingham Waterside Centre at Dreadnought Reach we made our way towards Sonning where of course we were obliged to pull up at the pub where ice creams were being sold by the riverside.

By now the temperature had risen and we were pleased to enter the quiet sheltered waters of St Patrick’s Stream, a backwater of the Thames. What makes this a classic paddle of course is the drop in height of the river which creates a twisting gentle moving water paddle on St Pat’s. It was idyllic floating past the large houses and garden and seeing wildlife. We had received a warning from local paddlers that there was a tree down causing a passable obstruction. Any excuse for getting the pruning saw out!

Exiting St Pat’s brought us to Wargrave Boat Club where we were warmly greeted and offered tea. We couldn’t stay long though as the club doesn’t admit dogs onto its site so we moved down river and had lunch on the bank outside the George and Dragon.

The final leg of the journey took as down another backwater, this time Hennerton Water. Again lots of house with enormous riverside gardens, wildlife and by now very welcome shade from the sun.

As it was bank holiday weekend there were many boats on the river which meant queueing at the locks but everyone was in good humour. We arrived at the Eyot Centre in Henley to the sounds of a brass band playing in the park. We felt we were being welcomed to the town. All agreed it was a lovely paddle and it was great seeing so many enjoying the river either on it – in a variety of boats – or on the river banks.