Worcester Regatta welcomes blind & visually impaired rowers
My name is Susannah Barnett, I am visually impaired/blind, and I am a member of Worcester Rowing Club. You may have met me when I have taken part in regattas around the region. I have been developing a system using a radio system which allows me to enter single sculling events being guided by radio from a second boat. I haven’t won yet!, but competing in this way, in ‘mainstream’ events has started to show the rowing world that VI/blind people can compete and take part in the sport of rowing at all levels. Last year I was made City of Worcester Disability Sports Personality of the Year for my efforts.
I am also the Disability Representative on the West Midlands Regional Rowing Council. With the support of Maddie Millichap, the British Rowing Rowability Project Officer and Dominic O’Loughlin, the Captain of Worcester Rowing Club, and the support of the West Midlands Council, I am working to develop an initiative to create a network of blind/VI rowers in the region. I would eventually like to see specific training weekends for blind/ VI people. It would be great to be able to bring people together, to train, socialize and hopefully host special events such as inviting blind/ VI Paralympian’s to come and share their stories. There may also be options for coaches and club captains to come along too, and to discuss how blind/ VI people can be better integrated into local clubs and events. These are the initial ideas; I welcome your thoughts too.
To start this initiative off, Worcester Rowing Club would like to extend a specific invitation to blind / VI people to attend Worcester Regatta on the 5th of September. The Regatta will include specific races for Blind/ VI people to compete against each other. If you don’t feel you are ready to race, then there may be the opportunity to take part in a short ‘exhibition’ row and show spectators your developing skill. The exact races will depend on who comes, the points individuals have, and if people prefer singles/ doubles etc or would just prefer a short exhibition row. I can then create events to suit. You are also welcome to just come to the Regatta and socialize.
If you would like to come can you please complete the form below and e mail this back to me before Sunday 16th August.
I hope to see you on the 5th of September, however if you cannot come on that date but still wish to be kept up to date on this initiative, please put your contact details on the form and send this back to me.
Susannah Barnett (Para-Squad Captain.) WRCparafirstname.lastname@example.org
(Worcester Rowing Club also welcomes other para-rowers to the Regatta. However rowers need to be aware that the boating stages and entry to the club house is currently most suitable for Blind/ VI/ LTA rowers. Wheelchair users would need to be prepared to be lifted into boats, and into the club house. The club is working to create better access to the facilities in the near future. If there are rowers who would like to come on the 5th of September, please let me know.)