Club News

April 2024 Donation of defibrillator

On Monday 22nd April Maidstone Invicta Rowing Club received a generous donation of a pre-owned but unused HeartSine samaritan SAM350P PAD defibrillator (worth just under £1000) from RALPHH – The Robert Allen Life Promotion and Healthy Hearts Trust. Richard Allen the Chairman of the charity presented the device to Club Vice-President Anne Salmon. He explained that this was an exciting milestone for the charity as the defibrillator is the 25th that they have been able to place in a new venue.

RALPHH takes it name from the late Robert Allen who was a National Schools’ Rowing Champion and a respected rowing coach. A former Senior Prefect at Kingston Grammar School his death from a shock heart attack in August 2018, occurred whilst he was preparing for a short sailing holiday with friends. During his life he became well-known in rowing circles as well as having many friends in so many different walks of life. His family – and particularly his friends – were unwilling to let his memory fade and wanted this to be associated with the cause of caring for other people, which was so much part of Robert’s identity. 

 The charity was recognised by the Charity Commission in August 2019 with trustees drawn from those who knew of Robert’s achievements in his life. Despite issues created by the Covid pandemic, RALPHH completed the gifting or part-funding of 19 defibrillators and their housing in the first four years of the charity.

The Defibrillator will be installed in the Club’s gym so will be accessible when club members are on site and during the two club Head races the Maidstone Spring and Autumn Heads.

January 2024 Junior Boat Renaming Ceremony

A renaming ceremony was held recently to mark the return of four junior boats from refurbishment. Thanks to the generosity of The Rowing Foundation, a charity dedicated to promoting participation by young people in rowing, which contributed half of the nearly £8000 cost, we were able to send the boats to have their hulls repaired and resprayed by the specialist company Confido Racing Ltd.

They have returned looking like new! The four boats were originally purchased by the club in the early 2000s under the Project Oarsome scheme which was designed to encourage younger juniors to take up the sport. The quad, ‘Little Woods’, plus the double, ‘Angus Warner’, and two single sculls, ‘Emma Williams’ and ‘Star of Swadelands’ were all welcomed back at the ceremony. Our eager junior squad quickly rigged them up and were keen to get them back on the water. Their first racing outing will be at our own Small Boats Head in March

December 2023 Santa Sprints

Fun was had by all at the 2023 Santa Sprints. 12 crews competed for the coveted title on a lovely sunny morning. After some initial drama when one of the boats floated off and had to be rescued with some nimble footwork by Kevin Breytenbach, and then be towed back by a crew coxed by Alistair Hill, the racing got underway. Crew selection was organised and announced by Director of Rowing, Jon Mihr.

Billed as a ‘fun’ event, when rowers get into a boat things inevitably become competitive and so it proved with some excellent close races. All sections of the club were represented with masters, juniors and seniors rowing together and it was especially good to see so many of our new development squad rowers joining in. There had to be a winner and this proved to be the crew stroked by Elliot, backed up by Levi, Jack and Sophie, ably coxed by Riley, who just won a closely fought final.

Spirits were kept up by the catering team of Dani, Thor, and Darren (helped by other elfs) who provided a steady supply hot drinks and hot food.

Following the racing there was a naming ceremony for the club’s new Felippi coxless four. A ballot of club members produced strong support for the boat to be named the ‘Clive Harlow’ in recognition of all the hard work which Clive puts in maintaining the fleet, as well the work he puts in coaching the development juniors.

Thanks go out to all the organisers of the event and to Clive for the photographs.

August 2022 John’s Jazzy Jamboree

A summer party was held at the club to celebrate the unveiling of a founders’ plaque and in memory of John Clayton. Club vice-president Mervyn Warner did the honours and club chairman, Dani James, spoke eloquently about the debt the club owes John and the other founders. Following the unveiling a good time was had by all accompanied by live music and a BBQ. Prior to the party a ‘splash and dash’ regatta was held on the river in recreational boats.

March 2022 Boat Naming

Maidstone Invicta Rowing Club held a naming ceremony on the 29th March for its new single scull trainer boat. County Councillor Tom Cannon named the boat ‘Cobnut’ and christened it with a bottle of Kentish cider.

The boat has been purchased with the assistance of a £2000 grant from Kent County Council’s Covid-19 Local Recovery Fund and will be used by the club on its Learn to Row courses to help introduce newcomers to the sport of rowing and develop their skills.

Club Vice-President Harry Salmon said, “The club is very grateful to Tom Cannon for his assistance in securing this grant, and to KCC for providing the funding which has covered the majority of the cost of the new boat. A very stable scull, it is designed for people who have never rowed before and it will be a great asset in our drive to attract new people from the local community into our sport.”

After the naming ceremony Councillor Cannon took the boat out for an inaugural paddle and rowed up and down the river in front of the club.

Once he was back on dry land he remarked that “what a fantastic boat to introduce newbies like myself! The stabilisers really helped you feel safe and in control on the water. I am delighted to have supported the club with the purchase to attract new members and encourage positive use of our river. Maidstone Rowing Club is a huge asset for our town.”

February 2020 Funeral of John Clayton

John Clayton, founder of Maidstone Invicta RC, sadly died following an illness on 14th February 2020. John had a passion for the sport and he was a driving force behind the development of the club. He will be greatly missed by all who new him.

An obituary has been published on the British Rowing website:

A ‘Guard of Honour’ with Erith RC and MIRC blades flanked the hearse as it left the club at the end of the service.