TRIBUTES have poured in from the rowing world following the death of veteran coach Ron Needs
TRIBUTES have poured in from the rowing world following the death of veteran coach Ron Needs.
The Henley Royal Regatta steward, who lived in Greys Road, died on Monday aged 90.
A key figure in the world of women’s rowing he had the honour of having a boat named after him at Henley Royal Regatta by the Cambridge University Women’s Boat Club last year.
A statement from the club said: “It is with great sadness that we report that our legendary coach and stalwart supporter and GB rowing coach Ron Needs has passed away.
“Ron’s contributions to British rowing, in particular women’s university rowing at Cambridge and in the GB squad, broke new ground and delivered unprecedented results. His passion and commitment to Cambridge University Women’s Boat Club will live on in everything that we do.
“Our warmest thoughts and condolences are with his family at this time. We will share details of memorial arrangements once they are known.”
Writing on Twitter quadruple Olympic gold medallist Sir Matthew Pinsent said: “RIP Ron Needs – a gentleman and a gentle man. One of rowing's finest.” Fellow gold medallist Helen Glover said: “RIP Ron Needs. He dedicated decades of his life to rowing, and Heather [Stanning] and I are so grateful for his kind and direct advice during our careers.”
Phelan Hill, cox of the Great Britain eight, added: “Very sad to hear about the passing of Ron Needs. Life long servant of rowing and friend to so many. A true gent!”
Double Olympic champion Pete Reed said: “Sad to hear of the passing of Ron Needs. He was a life long servant of rowing and will be missed by those who had the fortune of meeting him.”
Leander coach Jane Hall added: “One of the most influential people in British Rowing has sadly passed away. Ron Needs – an absolute legend to our sport.”
The Great Britain women’s eight wrote on their Twitter pages: “Today we would like to say thank you to Ron Needs, who had a huge impact on the women's team as a coach, volunteer, mentor and friend.” Henley Women’s Regatta wrote: “Thank you Ron Needs for the many years of support that you have given to women's rowing. Your legacy lives on at Henley Women’s Regatta. Thank you from all of us.”
When the boat bearing his name was unveiled last year Mr Needs told the Henley Standard: “I coached them for about 10 or 11 years and won nine races out of 10 against Oxford. I am very pleased because I value the time I spent with them.”
Cath Bishop, Cambridge’s chairwoman, said: “Ron was immensely experienced and he was there at a time when women’s rowing wasn’t really given the support.
“Ron allowed us to develop standards at universities and clubs around the country that enabled us to produce Olympians that were winning medals before we had the Lottery support.
“He did an extraordinary amount for women’s rowing, which now we see at the top level, winning three gold's at London 2012. Some of the stuff he did 20 years ago has enabled that to happen.
“He’s very professional, very dedicated and a really generous individual and we’re all really honoured to know him.”