Sheffield Canoe Club celebrates its 50-year anniversary with a weekend of fun

Will Kirk enjoying the wilder part of the Don, Sheffield, United Kingdom, 19th June2016. Photo by Glenn Ashley.
Will Kirk enjoying the wilder part of the Don, Sheffield, United Kingdom, 19th June2016. Photo by Glenn Ashley.
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Members of a city canoe club are celebrating half a century of exciting escapades in fast-flowing water.

Sheffield Canoe Club has around 100 members who take part in activities on the River Don at Oughtibridge.

The society has produced several success stories throughout its 50-year history, including Dave Allen and Lyndsey Williams, who competed in the men’s C2 slalom at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich.

Another paddler, Frank Staniland, was involved in the first decent of the Annapurna river in Nepal in 1976 - an expedition documented in a film and a book.

Current members Will Kirk and Andrew Crowhurst are also making names for themselves - Will is currently training with the GB slalom squad and Andrew is a Division One slalom national.

The club moved to its current site at Oughtibridge around 20 years ago. Prior to this, the society had to travel to Maltby in order to paddle.

The group also runs sessions for the local scouts, has weekly meetings at Hillsborough swimming pool and hosts two national slalom events every year.

Some of the club make trips to the coast for sea paddling, including vice chairman Hugh Pashley, who has been a member since the beginning and continues to paddle into his 70s.

Chairman Ian Holmes, who coaches the beginners, also claimed the tuition the club offers provides vital safety advice.

“At the moment it’s a very popular sport and people do try inflatables and things like that. They try it on their own and it can have very dangerous consequences,” said Ian.

“The river, when in high water level, is a beautiful water to paddle but you do need experience.”

The club is run on a voluntary basis and relies solely on membership fees and money charged for survival sessions.

A celebration event to mark the anniversary took place on the Don at Oughtibridge. There were games for children and a variety of different boats for people to try on the water. Canoeists were treated to a hog roast, during which stories and memories were shared. Up to 20 prospective new members attended the festivities. There were more activities on the river the following day.