Rowing club set for awesome 150th year

By Nigel Slater Monday 31 December 2012 Updated: 04/01 10:11

MEMBERS of Evesham Rowing Club are hoping to put one of the most disruptive years in their history behind them when they celebrate a special milestone in 2013.

For the first time ever the rowing club's three main events of the year - the Evesham Regatta, Senior Head and Junior Head - had to be postponed or cancelled because of flooding in the town.

But next year the Abbey Road club will have reason to cheer when members celebrate the club's 150th anniversary with a special ball ceremony.

The ball, which will see a celebratory gathering of current and past members of the club, is scheduled to take place on the evening of Saturday, June 15.

Evesham Rowing Club chairman John Lomas told the Observer he has never known a year like it with the wet weather costing the club in the region of £10,000 in running costs, but hoped next year would be one of nothing but celebration.

"We've never ever had a year where we've lost all three of our major rowing events," he said. "It's amazing really when you think about it, you can plan for losing one event but to lose three is quite staggering.

"To lose £10,000 is a really big loss to us and obviously we will try and raise some money in other ways. It's a big blow to the club but when the weather is like it is there is just nothing you can do.

"After the Olympics we got a tremendous surge in response to rowing with well over 45 enquiries and of course for all those newcomers the Senior Head event was going to be there first event on the river.

"But because of the bad weather it was sadly taken away from them."

The club formed from small roots in 1863 as Evesham Boat Club with its equipment and boats stored in timber boathouses.

A year later the club held its first Regatta event before the club was renamed Evesham Rowing Club. In 1892 the club president made a plot on the riverside available to the club and members then took out a mortgage and built a brick structure with a slated roof - which then was to be its new home.

In the 20th Century the new boathouse was then extended to include changing rooms, toilets and a small club room. Extra land leased to the club saw the addition of tennis courts and in the 1970s squash courts.

Now 150 years on the club hopes its celebration ball will live long in the memory. As well as a four-course meal, the black-tie event will include a champagne reception, a live band, a casino and magician and Badsey born celebrity impressionist Alistair McGowan will be the guest of honour.

Mr Lomas added the event will be a great occasion for former and current members to come together and celebrate the club's long history.

"It's going to be a great night, I can't wait," he added. "It will be the social event for Evesham next year and we would love to see so many of our members there as possible to celebrate it."

For more details about the club's 150th anniversary ball visit their website at www.evesham-rowing-club.co.uk.

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