Monday, 26 June 2017

Rowers return to boathouse for clean-up

MEMBERS of Henley Rowing Club took part in a clean-up operation at their flood-hit boathouse.

Some of the more experienced crews returned to the club in Wargrave Road at the weekend which they have been unable to use for about two months.

On Friday, members cleared out the boathouse and used a pressure washer and brooms to remove silt from the floor.

At the height of the floods water was almost at waist height at the back of the boathouse.

Manager Linda Thomas, 60, said: “In early January the river levels started going up and we cancelled training for the month.

“The water came up and flooded everything, the boathouse, right through to the car park. Most of the club had to train at Dorney, the Eton College rowing lake.”

The water level subsided temporarily but came up again last month, resulting in the closure of Wargrave Road.

The club was closed for days in mid-February because there was no access as the car park was flooded again. Mrs Thomas said: “We have missed two months of training when we’re coming up to some major events.”

The schools head race has had to be put back by a couple of weeks because of the conditions. Mrs Thomas said: “A lot of clubs on the Thames have not been on the water properly whereas elsewhere in the country they haven’t been affected.”

Her daughter Bethan, 28, a rowing coach at the club, said: “We have got a lot of big national events coming up and barely anyone has done any training.”

Justin Sutherland, captain of Upper Thames Rowing Club in Remenham Lane, said its boathouse flooded at the end of January. It took members two days to clear the mess with jet hoses.

“We’re not entirely sure there wasn’t sewage in the water as well so it was an incredibly messy job,” he said.

The water level rose again last month to 2ft feet and last week five club members spent two mornings clearing sludge an inch thick.

Mr Sutherland added: “We have done most of our training on land, in the gym and on the rowing machines. We’ve got a race this Sunday in London which will be a test of how well our land training has gone.”

Robert Treharne Jones, press officer for Leander Club, said the high river levels had a “significant” effect on the club’s training programme.

“Our elite fours went out for the first time since Christmas on Tuesday,” he said, “For our most experienced athletes the river is now rowable.”

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