Shrewsbury School

The grand opening of The Yale Boathouse, with the help of a few Olympic medals

Sunday 23 September 2012

Shrewsbury School's location, set high on the banks above the River Severn, is the envy of rowing schools across the country; now we have the top class facilities to match.

Saturday 22nd September was a glorious autumnal day (sandwiched between days of torrential rain) that around 300 Old Salopians, staff, pupils and parents thoroughly enjoyed, crowding around the impressive new balcony to celebrate the opening of The Yale Boathouse.

The magnificent new facility replaces the original boathouse built in the 1860s, which now gives us an extra two bays on the ground floor, capable of holding up to 20 eights.

The multi-functional Gifford Room above has space for over 40 ergometers, and its magnificent views of the river and the town beyond are framed by the floor to ceiling windows that span the whole of the first floor and lead out to the balcony.

The design also includes a bridge to the Pugh boathouse and a refurbishment of the old club room – ‘The Bowring Room’ – and its associated facilities. 

The Headmaster opened his remarks by thanking providence for the fine weather. He went on to praise the successful appeal by the Foundation Office and thanked all of the generous donors, including Old Salopians and Sabrina Club members, who had made the project possible.

In opening the Boathouse, Mark Yale (SH 1976-1981) challenged today’s oarsmen and women to achieve the maximum potential possible, aided by the new facilities and the coaching staff.  He promised that “taking part to a high standard on the river while at school, would give replication of all the attributes required to achieve success later in life,” and that the companionship of rowing together as part of an interdependent team would stay with them for ever.

At the conclusion of the speeches Mark Yale was asked to unveil the plaque bearing his name, and to officially hand over the facilities to the School and its pupils.

Pictured Left to Right with Olympic medallist Matt Langridge (centre) are Salopian rowers:
Bridget Lapage (EDH, Girls' Captain of Boats), Isobel Diment (EDH), Peter Gadsden (Ch) with Matt's silver medal,  Max Kimpton-Smith (O, Captain of Boats), Cesca Molyneux (EDH) with Matt's London 2012 bronze medal, Charlotte Harris (EDH)

One of the guests of honour at our Boathouse Opening was Matt Langridge, Olympic bronze medallist in the Men's Eight in London 2012 (and silver in Beijing 2008). Matt generously spent time with some of our current pupils, talking to them about their training and his experiences of competing at the highest level – and allowing them to handle his medals and try them on.

In the words of our newly appointed Director of Rowing, Athol Hundermark: “With the Boat Club reaching record numbers of around a 150 boys and 30 girls training on a day-to-day basis, the new boathouse has come at an excellent time to provide world-class facilities to meet the ambitions of the club and the athletes.”

A full report for Old Salopians and Sabrina members by Malcolm Davies (R 1951-56) is available here.

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