WORLD champion rower and double Olympic gold medallist Heather Stanning OBE was the special guest at the official opening of the Lymington Rowing Club’s new premises on Saturday.
Visitors and rowers gathered at the packed ribbon-cutting ceremony to get a first-hand look at the building, which was given to the club as part of a planning condition for the Redrow housing development at Lymington Shores.
The facility was offered on a lease of 125 years, which includes sole access to the site’s pontoon at a nominal cost under an agreement with the town harbour commissioner.
Valuable to community
Talking at the opening ceremony, Stanning said: “The community that the rowing club has here is really valuable for youngsters – and every age group in all honesty – because it enables them to see what sport can bring to their lives.
“The lists of people who have contributed to making the new club happen is very impressive and shows how it is not just about the rowers in the boat, but about the massive team behind it as well.
“It was fantastic to be in Lymington, and I had a great morning out on the water – it was a bit different for me because usually I have to deal with hazards on a river, looking out for canal barges mainly. On the Solent, though, you have to watch out for the Isle of Wight ferry!”
State of the art
With grants from local authorities and in-house fundraising, the premises has been fitted with kitchen facilities, a small bar, state-of-the-art rowing machines and weight racks, and ground-level storage space for boats and equipment.
Chairman of LARC, Mark Viner, said: “I have been a member of the club for over 40 years and we have had various successes on and off the water, but the one constant factor has been the search for a new premises – this day has finally arrived.
“Redrow built the premises for us as part of the [planning] agreement and we had to raise some funds to get it kitted out.
“The bulk of the money for this came from three sources, the two main ones being Sport England and NFDC, who I would like to thank for their grants, and the other was our own fundraising.
“Over the years we have also had help from Hampshire County Council and Lymington and Pennington Town Council, and I would also like to thank the harbour master and the harbour commissioner for their work on the new pontoon.”