Catherine Larner reports on an inspirational evening, with thanks to Bridget Wijnberg, Lyn Gameson and Simon Robertson-Young for taking photographs.
weather conditions, an audience of 250 gathered at Woodbridge
Community Hall on Friday 11 October to hear Olympic Gold champion
rower Katherine Grainger speak about her autobiography ‘Dreams Do
Britain’s most successful female
rower – winning silver at three consecutive Olympic Games before
gold at London 2012 – Katherine had driven 100 miles across country
to be at the event, on the invitation of local independent bookshop,
The community-minded shop had wanted to
help raise funds for a new boat to cater for the growing female
membership at the town’s rowing club, and Katherine was impressed
with their ambition and made room in her formidable diary of
engagements to be there.
The hall was bedecked in bunting and
union jacks, and the audience broke into spontaneous applause as a
video clip of Katherine’s winning race was played to open the
evening. “It took us back to the moment,” said one member of the
crowd which had travelled from Kent, Essex, Norwich, Cambridgeshire
as well as all over Suffolk. “We were back there reliving London
2012 and all it meant to us.”
Katherine had rushed straight from her
car onto stage, yet was relaxed, poised, articulate and entertaining
as she told the story of her career in rowing, the Olympic ‘journey’
and her successful initiation into writing: her book has been
included in the longlist for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year
Then, with a flourish, she revealed the
new boat which was sitting on stage behind her. The Swift, Club A,
lightweight double had been named the ‘Katherine Grainger’ in her
honour, explained chairman of Deben Rowing Club, William Notcutt. It
was paid for through funds raised from the evening and by the ladies
section at the club and will be used exclusively by them.
The new boat will serve as a fitting
reminder of the evening. Katherine’s humility, determination, hard
work and application were an inspiration to all who heard her and the
queue to have books signed stretched all around the room.
Katherine’s visit had been scheduled
to last two hours, but as time moved on she refused to cut short any
of the personal interactions. Family groups came forward and she
engaged in conversations, finding out personal details before making
an individual inscription in each book and then leaping out of her
seat with her gold medal to pose for a photograph with her admirers.
Finally, with the audience gone,
Katherine still did not rush away, insisting on thanking the
organisers of the event and encouraging the ladies group at Deben
Rowing Club in their endeavours on and off the water. She took
delight in acknowledging the time and effort that had gone into every
element of the evening, including sewing metres of red and yellow
bunting and baking themed gold medal biscuits, and wanted to take
away souvenirs for her friends.
Everyone meeting Katherine Grainger at
Woodbridge Community Hall on a wet evening in October felt they had
been in the presence of a true champion in sport and in life.
(This article will also appear in next month's 'Regatta' magazine.)
You may have read that Katherine Grainger, who won Olympic Gold in the
women's double sculls at London 2012, has just published her
autobiography, called Dreams Do Come True, which has achieved some
In a rare public appearance to promote the book, she will be visiting Woodbridge on Friday 11 October.
Katherine was invited to the town by Browsers, our own independent
bookshop which regularly runs events with high profile speakers and
where DRC members Clio Aubugeau-Williams, Megan Stocker and Catherine
Larner have all been part of the team.
Katherine was impressed by Browsers' commitment to her book and the
shop's willingness to contribute to its local community by offering to
donate proceeds from the event to the town's rowing club. This money will be
used to purchase a new boat for the growing female membership.
Katherine will be speaking about her experiences rowing, her dedication
and commitment in training, her achievements and disappointments in
collecting numerous medals before finally winning a long overdue Olympic
Gold at London 2012.
The event is taking place at Woodbridge Community Hall on Friday 11
October at 6.30pm.
Tickets: £6 each and are only available in advance
from Browsers Bookshop, 60 Thoroughfare, Woodbridge IP12 1AL. Tel 01394
Katherine's book, Dreams Do Come True, is also available from
Browsers at the special price of £16.
Please support Browsers in this very generous contribution to DRC, urge
your family and friends to spread the news about Katherine's visit, buy
tickets and copies of her book (from Browsers), and let's make this
event a huge success!
full weekend racing at Peterborough was brought to a perfect end late on
Sunday afternoon, with Spencer and Kyle winning their Novice 2x entry
and Emilie racking up the points with a second win in two days in her IM2
single. The squad had further success with 2nd places in their
singles finals to Megan, Chris and Olivia, Liv missing out on a win by
only 0.3s, and Chris by only 0.6s Revenge is being plotted!
camping was dry but cold, accompanied by 'entertainment' from a
boisterous crew from De Montford, and the curious incident of tent peg
removal in the middle of the night.
hope to see lots more Deben Racers at Bedford on 14 July, with
another chance for camping antics on the 27 and 28 July at St Neots
(see poster attached).
Huge thanks to Chris Jillings for his
incredibly efficient organisation, enabling crews to relax, safe in the
knowledge of exact warm-up, boating and start times, that can only be
brought by personalised andlaminated race
cards. Chris and Megan even managed to compete in different events
only 15 minutes apart, sprinting from finish line to boating section
encouraged by the camp followers holding bottles and blades at the ready
across the lake.
Julian Haywood-Smith reports below - many congratulations to you all!
2,600m course, in changeable and cool weather, with a difficult cross wind at the start.
A much quieter event than expected, with fewer entries than last year.
meant some number juggling by the organisers caused a bit of confusion,
but the cool headed Deben Racers showed their tremendous form,
particularly in the single sculls.
Races of the day were by Dylan
in his first single race ever, and by Katy, achieving a win in her
first single race as well. This was despite the determined efforts of a
Leys school boy determined not to let yet another Deben girl fly past
The following wins were recorded:-
J16 1x Dylan Ward (3 entries) 12 mins 10 secs (First time ever race in a single) J18 1x Chris Game (3 entries) 11 mins 02 secs (a full 1 minute and 14 seconds ahead of 2nd place) WJ16 1x Katy Wilkinson-Feller (4 entries) 13 mins 06 secs (First time ever race in a single) WNov 1x Izzy Lelijveld (3 entries) 13 mins 03 secs (improving her earlier division time by 16 seconds) WJ15 1x Olivia Haywood Smith (3 entries) 13 mins 07 secs (first win in a single and a whole two minutes ahead of 2nd place) The
quad looked the business, but left their watches behind. First time
we have seen a strict enforcement of the Green Dragon bridge rule.
In the J18 2x category, Kyle Eadie doubled up with Dylan (10.56) & Chris (10.23) recording the two
fastest times amongst the Racers, but sadly, with insufficient entries
to bring home a pot.
Katy & Olivia brought their WJ16 2x home with a time of 12.20, but again, had no competition.
The 3rd fastest time of the day amongst the Racers, were Emilie and Spencer Wix
in their mixed double, recording a time of 10m 59 secs - faster than
many college VIII boats, but with no competition, this was scant
Thanks go to coaches Chris Jillings and James Parkinson,
for getting the singles in such great condition at an early stage of
the season. Next event to look forward to is the Peterborough Regatta
on 1st and 2nd June.
Click on the link below for the poster for this event with all details. Cost per seat is £10.
James's Junior Doubles/Quads are attending, with the boats then being
trailered down to Cambridge for the final Winter league event. We will
co-ordinate other entries as required - please talk to your coaches now
so we don't miss the entry deadline of 25th Feb.
We are a friendly bunch of approximately scullers and rowers, of all capabilities and ages, using both recreational and racing boats. Beginners and experienced rowers are welcome - see new website for all of the latest information: www.debenrowingclub.co.uk