Great Tyne Row enjoys record entry

The Great Tyne Row took place on Saturday, with a largest-ever entry taking on the iconic but gruelling 25km race for stable boats.

In total, 34 crews took part in the fourth edition of the annual challenge – rowing between Newburn, west of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, and Tynemouth to the East.

Crews entered from as far afield as Borth in Wales, Anstruther in Scotland and Weybridge South of London with a number of new crews taking to the Tyne. A wide range of boat were taking part in the challenge for the first time, including St Ayles Skiffs, sliding-seat coxed quads, fours and doubles, a Celtic Longboat, a Hanningfield Skiff, and a paddle-powered Dragon Boat.

“It’s fantastic to see so many different boats, from so many different corners of the country” said James Andrews, British Rowing’s regional Participation Development Officer. “Every year it is getting more varied, and every year the participants enjoy this unique event even more”.

With the even continuing to grow in size, this year the Organising Committee was able to purchase a number of new shields for the overall fastest boats, named after local heroes and to be presented year on year.

Due to unforeseen circumstances, however, several crews had to be halted mid-race and times were not taken. So prizes were awarded to crews who crossed the line first in their category.

The Grace Darling Shield (for fastest women’s fixed seat boat and sponsored by Jordan Boats) is named after the English lighthouse keeper’s daughter from Northumberland famed for participating in the rescue of survivors from the shipwrecked Forfarshire in 1838. St Ayles Rowing Club claimed it for the first time at this year’s race.

The Henry Frederwick Swan (for fastest fixed seat boat and sponsored by Jordan Boats) is named after a former lifeboat built in 1917, which saved lives on the Tyne and North Sea until 1947. It was won by North Berwick Rowing Club.

The Catherine Cookson Foundation shield (for fastest women’s boat) was kindly donated by Newcastle University. Dame Catherine Cookson set up a fund to support academic initiatives within the University – including research into the history of Tynemouth, RC who will be celebrating their 150th anniversary in 2017. The shield was won by Hexham Rowing Club.

Finally there is the William Fawcus Shield (for fastest boat) kindly donated by Allen Lambert, President of Tynemouth RC. The shield was named after Tynemouth RC’s William Fawcus – the first provincial sculler to win the Diamond Singles at Henley Royal Regatta. William also in the same year won the Wingfield Sculls. The William Fawcus shield was won by Devil’s Elbow Rowing Club.

The Newcastle City Marina award for Best Decorated Boat went to St Ayles RC, for their unusual frog decorations, whilst the Best Dressed Crew went to Gosforth Community RC for their fantastic Gondoliers.

The Harry Clasper Award went to Angela Reid of Byker Community RC, who also won the ‘Enjoying the View’ award. This was given to Angela to show that anyone can take part in rowing, having competed despite recently completed a course of chemotherapy.

As crews arrived onto the beach at Tynemouth to complete the 25km row, award-wining band Hannabiell & Midnight Blue welcomed them with a taste of Afro-Latin percussion and brass, adding to the excellent atmosphere as crews disembarked and tucked into a waiting barbeque.

“I’ve never seen so many craft land on the beach,” said Tynemouth RC Captain Nina Laurie. “We love to welcome all the crews to our small friendly club each year, and it’s fantastic to see the event growing.”

The organising committee already have sights set on next year with the date set for September 6th. More information will be available soon at www.britishrowing.org and www.explorerowing.org/great-tyne-row, so keep your eyes peeled.

For a number of photos galleries from this year’s event, visit the Northern Rowing Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/northernrowing.

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