Sitting in my kitchen writing this news letter is a sad indication of the situation that we find ourselves in. White stains on my fingers and the smell of fresh paint in my house is another sign that things are not normal: DIY is not listed as one of my super powers. We are all desperate to get back to our day jobs and get our youngsters active again. Goodness knows what effect this latest lockdown will have on them, but we are ready to help them get back on track. The information that we have at present is that pupils will start to return from Monday 8th March and we will be ready from this date. Will this return date include Year 8? Who knows? But when your rowers are back in school and are ready to go please give us as much notice as possible. Most of our coaches are self employed or students and may well have to move things around to accommodate rowing sessions.

We can though report on some activity from the end of last year. We managed to squeeze in our capsize drill during the last days of the Autumn Term. This was very much a last-minute thing and I was delighted with the way the schools adapted and made the most of the occasion. The swimming ability of our group is still on average very poor but it is better than a few years ago. Buoyancy aids will remain the order of the day whilst the youngsters are on the water. Many thanks to LiveWire for making this event happen, their team were very helpful and understanding.

Over the years we have worked with London Youth Rowing and behind the scenes they have been a great help to us. We have always tried to support the National Junior Indoor Rowing Championships which is their flagship event. Sadly this event fell foul of Covid but they managed to replace it with a virtual indoor rowing league and every month there is a new challenge. All of our schools took part in the December Challenge and we were going to carry on with this excellent scheme through the winter but Covid had other ideas. The competition is open to anybody, anywhere and there were even a number of entries from Australia and New Zealand. We did though have some excellent performances. Our old girls Iffy Marinos (Boteler now Priestley) won the girls age 17. Elle Kadir (Culcheth now Priestley) won the girls age 16 and was the fastest of all the girls. Kimberley Bentun (Birchwood) was joint 3rd with Elina Bormane (Padgate) in age 13 behind two young ladies from New Zealand. Tamara Collar (Cardinal Newman) was 3rd in age 12. For the boys Michael Kadir (Culcheth) won the age 15 by a margin. Evan Wray (Birchwood) placed 2nd in the age 14 with Steven Davies (Padgate) a close 3rd. Lucas Tinkley (Cardinal Newman), Kam Finni (Knutsford Academy) and K Stone (Bridgewater) all shared the top spot in age 13. Lucas Tinkley and Ollie Stanton (Cardinal Newman) came 1st and 2nd respectively in age 12.  If any schools would like to present medals for these results please let me know and I am sure I can find some for you to hand out. For the full results go to the London Youth Rowing website on the online league page where you can find us in the December results.

Assuming that we do get back on the water at some stage in this academic year, we have our end of year regatta to look forward to. Initially we had it down as Monday 28th June but we have pushed this back to Wednesday 7th July starting at 3pm and finishing around 6pm. It will be on the banks of The River Mersey at Warrington Rowing Club and it will be a great opportunity for our young athletes to show off their skills in front of family and friends who will all be welcome. Please come along and support this inspiring event.

Can I remind all school heads that we would be delighted to see you during any of our training sessions and we might even take you for a ride in one of the coaching launches!

We have recently become members of The Sport and Recreation Alliance and we were featured in their Daily Update. To see the article, follow this link.

I will close by reminding you about ‘Easy fundraising’, if you don’t already support any other cause, please list Warrington Youth Rowing. It will cost you nothing but will be a great help to us.

Kind regards and let’s hope for better news soon.