April 5, 2020




This is to update members on several fronts.

Coronavirus has overtaken us, in common with so many other aspects of normal life. The Club has been forced to close for all purposes until further notice, in line with Government requirements and British Rowing’s strong advice. We long for the lifting of the restrictions so that competition can resume – and, of course, our training for it (even though that means ergos…). We also look forward to re-opening the bar in due course; the Social Club committee is looking to put on a series of enjoyable social events as soon as external circumstances allow.

British Rowing has today (2 April) updated its position, extending the suspension of its own competitions until 30 June and advising that affiliated competitions (ie those run by Clubs under BR’s auspices) do not run for the same period. The cancellation of our Small Boats Head on 5 April and Bedford Amateur Regatta on 9 May had already been announced so we are not directly affected in that sense. However it does mean that the British Rowing Masters Championships are cancelled for this year and there will be no heads or regattas run by other clubs, assuming they follow the BR advice. BR will review the position again in due course, so this may not be the end of the period of suspension.

These cancellations, following that of our February Head, plus the postponement of this year’s July River Festival are hitting the Club’s finances hard. We can’t currently raise funds from hiring out our bar for private events, so that’s another significant income source gone for the time being. The Committee is taking every opportunity to trim overheads, but this does not give sufficient scope to compensate fully for lost income. At present, your subscriptions are effectively our only source of income to cover those overheads we cannot cut. Thank you once again for your continuing support for your Club.

We are investigating whether we can take advantage of the Government’s support package – our eligibility has yet to be decided. Whatever the outcome there is an urgent need to raise funds to restore the Club’s reserves which are dwindling in the current shutdown. This need will be ongoing after we re-open. Your suggestions would be most welcome.

Please ponder whether you could make an additional, personal contribution to the Club, as three vacancies arise for officers to serve on the Committee.

  • John Mingay will be stepping down as Deputy President at our AGM scheduled for September. This post has typically provided a period of familiarisation before the Deputy seeks election as President at the end of the incumbent’s term. The President, with the assistance of the Deputy, chairs the Committee and oversees the administration of the rowing club. The Captain is responsible for rowing matters while the Social Club Chair oversees the bar and social side. While I have every hope of completing my full term as President (2024), you may be aware that I have come through a period of serious illness. I can’t rule out the possibility of a relapse, though mercifully I have been quite well for nearly a year now. We need a Deputy President willing to take over if I unexpectedly have to step down sooner than intended.
  • Sandra Perry has also given fair warning that she will not seek re-election as Treasurer. Sandra has served with distinction and hard work in managing the Club’s finances over a number of years. Though a hard act to follow, the Treasurership is a vital role. We are keen to identify her potential successor as soon as possible. There is a real need for a handover period of working together before the new Treasurer takes over after the September AGM.
  • Paul Brown wishes to stand down as soon as possible as Welfare Officer. Many will be aware of the very sad family circumstances that have led to his decision. We have every sympathy, and are grateful to him for continuing to serve while we seek his replacement. However, the need is now urgent. While there is a single role as Welfare Officer, in practice we require two persons (one man, one woman) to be responsible for our welfare obligations. These involve ensuring that the Club’s welfare policies, and British Rowing’s requirements for the safeguarding of vulnerable persons (eg juniors) are adhered to and that any concerns are appropriately identified, followed up and acted upon.


Please let me know if you or anyone you know might be suitable to fill any of these roles. Feel free to have a confidential discussion with me in the first instance if you wish. You can reach me at martinbanhamhall@yahoo.co.uk. Candidates must have been paid-up members of Bedford Rowing Club for at least a year.


I look forward to seeing everyone back at the Club as soon as possible.



Club President