Naomi Riches and Atul Kochhar
Marlow Rowing Club launched its fundraising project to create a safer and more inclusive environment for disabled and elderly rowers this week.
The Marlow Rowability launch event laid out plans to raise £200,000 in the coming years to transform accessibility to the river for all users. Paralympian Naomi Riches MBE spoke at the event, held at the Compleat Angler on Tuesday evening, where the club set its course to become one of the most accessible water facilities in the UK.
Celebrity chef Atul Kochhar hosted the event, and alongside Tom Kerridge, Angela Hartnett, Neil Borthwick, Josh Eggleton and Phil Carmichael will take part in a celebrity boat race on Saturday as part of the Pub in the Park event. They're set to take to the water at 10.30am and spectators will be able to watch either from Marlow Bridge or on the tow path opposite Marlow Rowing Club.
Paralympian coach Bruce Lynn said: "The Marlow Rowability project will make Marlow Rowing Club one of the UK’s most accessible water facilities – inside and outside.
"When the clubhouse was rebuilt after the fire, it was designed to be one of the most accessible boat houses in the UK. The club itself has invested heavily in this accessibility and inclusion building one of the country’s most prominent adaptive/pararowing programmes.
"It supports disabled rowers and adaptive programmes across the UK with its expertise and resources.
"While the clubhouse itself was rebuilt to exacting accessibility standards, the boating area outside the clubhouse was not touched.
"The increased usage of the facility by rowers of all types as well as other water users, especially introducing more disabled individuals, has started expose the many weakness of the old boat storage and boating/landing stages. The access of the final furlong from boat racks to the water challenges the club’s older members, junior rowers as well as disabled individuals.
"The Rowability initiative aims to make the outside of Marlow Rowing Club as leading edge in accessibility as the clubhouse itself. These enhancements will make rowing more inviting, more safe, more enjoyable, and more inclusive to the widest range of people."