Derby RC officially opens new landing stage.
The opening ceremony of Derby Rowing Club’s new landing stage was performed on 14th July by Di Ellis CBE, Chairman of British Rowing, one of the major funding providers.
The landing stage (pictured above) was designed by Burton-based SA Consulting and has been constructed by the GF Tomlinson Group of Alfreton Road, Derby, to provide a state of the art facility for access to the river, including provision for disabled athletes, which will lead to higher levels of participation and satisfaction in the sport to the people of Derby.
Tomlinsons accomplished the major waterside civil engineering project, overcoming the difficulty of the steep banks, and had to cope with extreme weather conditions during the prolonged cold winter.
Phil Phillips, President of Derby Rowing Club, said: ‘A major project of this type occurs only a few times in the life of a club. We realized around fifteen years ago that the original landing stage built in 1963 was nearing the end of its useful life, and so we started the Millennium Landing Stage project with the intention of raising funds to build it in 2000. As an amateur sports club of limited means, the cost has always exceeded funding. But last year we received a very generous donation from Rowan Dixon, one of our Vice Presidents, which enabled us to start the planning process. We then obtained a grant through British Rowing, with the help of their Facilities Consultant, Alan Meegan, who guided us through the process.
‘We are also extremely grateful to Tomlinsons, who absorbed some of their additional unexpected costs due to the bad winter weather.’
The old landing stage
Derby’s club captain, Des Cook added: “The new facility will enable us to expand the membership of the club by holding more Learn2Row courses and taster sessions for beginners that we hope will inspire people to take up the sport. We shall be able to put on more events, and even possibly resurrect Derby Regatta. It also gives our high-performance athletes a better platform for them to excel in national competitions.”
Di Ellis said she was delighted to see so many people from the club and community. “My sincere congratulations to Phil Phillips and all his team at Derby RC on all that they have achieved here. It is so pleasing to see what a difference this facility will make. It will make the sport so much more accessible for adaptive and school rowers as well as the wider community.”
The original access to the river at the club in Darley Park was by a number of narrow wooden steps leading down to a ‘landing stage’ that was essentially the eighteen inches wide bottom step, which caused trepidation to anyone getting into a sleek racing boat. The new one has wide concrete steps leading down to a 2-metre wide floating pontoon, which rises and falls with the river level to keep the height above the water constant.
An unprecedented feature is the addition of a chairlift, which allows access to the water for disabled rowers. Derby has not been able to accommodate adaptive athletes before this installation, and are hoping that they can now develop this area of the sport.