ON this day last year, Stratford-upon-Avon's James Roe and his crew won Paralympic gold on the water at Eton Dorney.
The 2nd September 2012 was not only a remarkable day for James - who now has an MBE and two gold post boxes on Bridge Street - but also a memorable one for Stratford.
Stratford Boat Club always knew that the year after would be a good one for them but even they didn’t realise how good it would be.
Andrew Roe, James' father and Stratford's Explore Rowing coach, said: "During this summer, we will have put nearly 100 people through our summer skills camps and Explore Rowing day and evening courses.
“The courses were heavily oversubscribed and we would have loved to have taken more but resources meant that we could only take those on our existing juniors’ waiting list. We plan to do more Explore Rowing course in the autumn.”
Knowing that the demand for rowing would increase, Stratford Boat Club got ready for the anticipated demand for rowing by putting 13 more coaches through their training, sending eight launch drivers on the RYA Level Two course and several members through their first aid and food handling hygiene courses.
Jen Clements, Stratford Boat Club captain, said: “Having our Olympic gold medallist James Roe and [Olympic torchbearer] Camilla Hadland, also president of Durham University Boat Club, help out at our regattas, events, summer skills camps and Explore Rowing and train at the club has been a great morale-booster and example to us all and especially our junior squad.”
James, who suffers from a visual impairment, won gold for Team GB in the Mixed Coxed Four Rowing event. Although the 25-year-old champion has taken a break from competitive rowing, the impact of the former King Edward VI school student's victory is still being felt in Stratford.
Club President Felix Badcock said: “Olympic year has been a very busy one for Stratford Boat Club. The club has done well in local and regional heads and regattas and the junior squad also did well in the recent 2013 British Rowing Junior Championships held at National Water Sports Centre.
“Our two magnificent home regattas have emphasised Stratford Boat Club’s place in local and regional sport in the Midlands area and we are now well set to move forward with our club’s redevelopment so that we can continue to handle the demand for rowing and sculling in the area and serve needs of the local community.”
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