A Wall of Thanks

#100Days100Thanks. GB’s top rowers will be racing at the European Championships next week and with Rio looming they wanted to say thank you to some very special people.


Charlie Taylor with parents


With the European Championships around the corner and Rio 100 days away, members of the GB Rowing Team have taken time out to thank all the people who have helped them get to where they are today.

From the British Army to a one-year old niece. From parents to siblings to spouses, from crew-mates to house-mates. From grannies to early mentors, there are over 100 people named on our Wall of Thanks today.  We will add more as the racing season starts.

No need to explain further. Here are the rowers’ own words and pictures. Each rower was asked to thank their ‘top three’ but as you can see, enthusiasm got the better of some members of our team. So we’ve posted them all and will add others as they come in this week.

Karen Bennett

My parents and sister – Isabel and David Bennett and Fiona Bennett:

Their continuous support over the years means so much to me and I definitely wouldn’t be where I am today without it.

My nana – Madge Bennett:

The woman who inspires me every day to be the best I can be.

My first coach – Lee Boucher:

Always believed I would get to where I am today and put up with me when I first started rowing.

Olivia Carnegie-Brown

My Mum –  Jackie Jarvis:

For being an inspiration that drives my determination and doggedness to achieve what I have set out to achieve.

My Grandparents and sister- John, Frances and Bea:

My biggest supportimage1 2 group who follow me all around the world watching and supporting me, emotionally and physically.

My first rowing coach- Eira Parry (GB Rowing Team, Start):

For introducing me to the world of rowing and believing that I had what it takes to make it all the way to the Olympic Games.

Jono Clegg

Ali Brown:

My first coach, and now a good friend. Who made me believe in myself and inspired me to aim high. If he said to do anything, I’d do it.

Leander Club:

The club have provided me with invaluable support in reaching the Great Britain Team and have backed me all the way since the age of 18, continuing to do so today.

John Collins

My Parents Kathy and Philip and the rest of my family:John Collins with his mum and dad

…..for being my support staff (nutritionist, kit washers, transport coordinators) before Leander and GB rowing took over the job. Without their wholehearted support there is zero chance I would be doing what I am today. They are still a huge source of support and motivation for me.

My first two coaches Alans Inns and Seamus Keating:

Seamus coached me virtually from my first stroke until my ambitions to take rowing as far as I could kicked in. He was very supportive of me and taught me a lot of very important lessons and principles that I have kept with me my whole rowing career. Alan Inns was instrumental in taking me to my first GB strip. He was and still is one of the greatest coaches I have ever met and if circumstance had allowed it I would still want him coaching me today. The stubborness he instilled in me to see a job to its end has stayed with me to this day.

My Current coach Mark Banks:

Once I got into the team I struggled a lot. The step up proved difficult and culminated in me being sent back to Leander in April 2013. During this time I was convinced my international career over and Mark Banks convinced me otherwise. He gave me some very harsh truths about my performance and for the next year kept me pointed in the right direction. Without his guidance and sheer bloody mindedness I’m not sure I could have turned that around.

Zoe de Toledo

Laine Jaderberg and Tedi De Toledo (my parents), Magnus Jaderberg (my stepfather):Zoe hug

For always supporting me, encouraging me, making me laugh, and for being the best “parental unit” I could have ever asked for.

My boyfriend Alex Woods:

For getting me back on my feet more times than I can count, and for challenging me to be the best I can be.

My best friend Katie Apfelbaum:

For never judging me, and for always providing helpful (or at least very entertaining) feedback on my coxing woes.

My crewmates:

For inspiring me every single day

Jess Eddie

University of London Boat Club:

Fran (Houghton), Katie (Greves), Mel (Wilson) and I all rowed there and Mel even learnt to row there! The club taught us how to train hard, study hard and race hard. If it wasn’t for all of the hard work of coaches, alumni and teammates we wouldn’t all four of us be in the Women’s eight heading to Rio!

Gordon Beattie at Durham ARC:

He coached me as a junior, and taught me how to train. His dedication and perseverance pushed me on to the junior team, from which I’ve risen up to the Seniors. Without him I would never be here!

My twin sister  Alex Eddie:

We rowed together since we were very young, she was  always driving the bar higher and setting new standards for me.

Katie Greves

My family, particularly my dad:

He was always my biggest supporter. Just sorry he isn’t going be around to see what happens in Rio.

John Broadhurst and Tom Collins:

You made me love rowing, and I wouldn’t be where I am now if it hadn’t been for you.

Headington School:

For giving me an opportunity, and all the support I needed to be able to take it.

Angus Groom

My parents Glyn and Fiona Groom:

My dad was my first ever coach and got me into rowing. They are my biggest supporters and rarely miss a chance to watch me race. Both have always been there to help me follow my dreams.

My coach at Walton RC, Nick DeCata:

Nick coached me to my first ever GB vest and helped me believe that I could reach my full potential. He is a hard taskmaster and toughened me up massively. He has the best record of getting juniors into the GB system so he knows what he is doing!

My coach at Durham University Wade Hall-Craggs:

As an Olympic sculler himself, Wade helped me pursue sculling at a high level at University. He taught me to aim high and provided me with a strong attitude to get the most out of my training.

My friends Charlie Rendle, Lewis Weaver, and Sam Knight:

Charlie and Lewis are friends from university who were brilliant training partners at Durham and have always supported my rowing. The are never slow to keep me in check and keep things in perspective for me. Sam is my best mate from my junior days and we have always pushed one another for better. He tells it how it is and always lightens the mood.

Katherine Grainger

To my parents, Liz and Peter Grainger:

Thank you for being there on every step of this wonderful, crazy, amazing journey.  We’ve laughed and cried, commiserated and celebrated together.  And I wouldn’t have made it through without you both and your never-ending belief in me.

To my sister Sarah, my sister-in-law Steph and my nephew Seth:

Thank you for all the photos and videos that have kept me sane and made me laugh and means I have always feel close to you and to home even when I am somewhere across the other side of the world.

To all the staff of the English Institute of Sport at Bisham Abbey:

You’ll probably never know how much your support, encouragement, enthusiasm and humour has kept me enjoying this roller coaster ride.  Sport has as many challenges as rewards so thank you for sharing the good times and the bad, for seeing me as a person rather than only an athlete and for reminding me what is has always been about in the first place.

To the GB Rowing Class of 1997:

My first international rowing year and to have been part of such an incredible breakthrough team was a complete privilege.  I loved it from the start and your influence made sure I was hooked from the very beginning.  Thank you.

To Edinburgh University Boat Club:

Where it all began for me and where my dreams were allowed to grow.  Thank you for the support and inspiration all the way along the journey.

Frances Houghton

Richard Hooper:

One of my school rowing coaches who pushed me and encouraged me in equal measure. He was the first to both believe in me, & instill in me my belief in myself.

Rory Reilly:

My other school rowing coach who taught me that rowing is an adventure to enjoy; that it can, and always should, be so much fun.

Rusty Williams (UL):

Rusty taught me how to scull the way I dream about. He gave me his time, inspired my goals, and has always been there to celebrate my highs and share my lows. I have Rusty to thank for many of the best races I’ve ever had.

Lucy Heise:

My school rowing partner who said ‘yes’ to rowing with me even though I was three years younger. She took me under her wing, and taught me everything she knew, regardless that we were competitors. She remains a great friend; I have so much of the past 20 years to thank her for.

Peter Lambert

My parents and fiancé (Michael and Robin Lambert, and Charlotte Smith):

Thank you for all your constant enthusiasm towards my dreams, and for always being positive towards every choice I make and supporting me through each one.

Jeppe High School For Boys:

This was my high school I attended in Johannesburg, South Africa. I was introduced to rowing at this school, and I learnt a lot about appreciating the dynamics of rowing in a crew as well as learning to make the most of what I have.

Leander Club:

Arriving in the UK to trial for the British team and making it was only possible with the help of Leander Club. I was luckily enough to be given accommodation, food and fellow Leander athletes took me to and from training for 4 months while trailing for the GB team.

Zoe Lee

My parents: Sue and Adrian Lee:

They have been super supportive every step of my journey. Dad is always up to date on the rowing stats and Mum is certainly getting better with he rowing lingo…

My original boat club: Hertford College, Oxford:

For introducing me to rowing through the best form for rowing: bumps racing!!

Leonora Kennedy:

Lenny was my first ever pairs partner and taught me so very much in my first years of racing internationally. She has been a close friend and inspiration to me ever since.

Holly Nixon

Derek Holland and all the coaching staff at Portora Boat Club Northern Ireland:

This is were my journey began and without you guys being patient, kind and motivating I would not be where I am today. You have created an amazing club set up from such a small town and I am proud to say that I once was part of that. Everyone of you has played a part in my success so far.

Keith Nixonmy father.

Dad not only have you been just a dad the last 10 years, you have been an inspiration, coach and best friend. Through the good times and the bad you’ve been by my side. You introduced me to rowing and if it wasn’t for you I may have never found my dream. I can never repay you for everything you’ve done.Holly, aged 3, with her dad Keith

Carla Prentice:

My older sister, you have been my inspiration to get off the sofa and be active since I was at a young age. You have had to listen to countless stories about rowing between dad and I over the years and you have put up with it. Finally since the day I saw you run the Belfast marathon it really made me realise how strong you are and how anyone can achieve anything if they put their mind to it.

Peter Reed

Frauke Reed and Fred Smallbone:

I have a few key people that have been instrumental in my sporting life, without whom I would not be rowing. But I want to send a special thank you to my wife Frauke and life long coach and mentor, Fred Smallbone. I love you both dearly. Thank you for everything.

Frauke Reed and Fred Smallbone - the A team for Pete Reed

Polly Swann

George Heriot’s School BC:

For sparking the fire to my rowing addiction. I have so many fond memories of my first years on the Union Canal.

George Warnock – Big Red George:

Thank you for sacrificing so much time, energy and passion. We’ve shared laughs, tears, arguments and elation. For always believing in me and showing me the way. I always hope to make you proud.

Alan Inns:

For being an incredible coach, a mentor and a great friend.

Tom Evens:

For helping me in a dark hour and helping me fall in love with the sport again.

Heather Stanning

Anna Davidson and Paul Stannard:

Anna was my first Pairs partner and showed me how it was done! Under the guidance of Paul Stannard my first coach, without whom I would never have taken rowing to the level I am today, and who I still go back to for advice.Anna and Paul - first pairs partner, first coach

The British Army:

…..in particular the Royal Regiment of Artillery – who gave me the time to train, and continue to support me on my mission to achieve personal goals. Without their backing I would not be the individual I am today.

Helen and Robin:

…and, finally, they are what make me the athlete I am…

Charlie Taylor

My parents Deborah and Steve Daville and David and Kim Taylor:

If it wasn’t for my dad, David, I would never have tried rowing and since then he has been part of every step of the journey. My mum, Deborah, has always supported anything I have tried and in rowing she has been no different. Providing love and support all the way.

My fiance Kyle Booth:

If it wasn’t for Kyle this journey would not have been possible. He has supported me emotionally and financially and provided endless patience. He has also had to make lots of sacrifices to help me on my journey.

My first coaches Martin Gough and Tom Evens and my club Putney Town:

Martin and Tom were instrumental in helping me get me into the team. Dedicating so much time to put training programmes together, taking me on camps, getting me through my sessions and then through the Trials process intoFirst coaches Martin Gough (left) and Tom Evens (right) the team. More than anything they believed in me and I will be eternally grateful to them for this.

My club Putney Town have been behind me all the way. They provided such an awesome snd supportive environment for me to develop in, they helped buy me my boat and always enthusiastically support me in every race I do. They are like extended family and I’m so proud to race for them.

Vicky Thornley

My Mum and Dad:

You have been there through every up and down and I couldn’t have done it without your unwavering support and love.

Rick Egington:

You have always been there to give me honest advice. Thank you for your support and understanding.

Paul Stannard:

As my first coach you shaped me into the athlete I am today. Thank you for your advice then and now.

Sam and Aysha:

Thank you for always supporting me and always being there for me. Best big sisters ever!

Sam Townsend

Mark Earnshaw – first coach from 2002-2013:

Mark took me from an over weight teenager and complete novice to Olympic finalist in London 2012 in the double scull over the course of ten years. I owe him an awful lot!

Reading University BC/Will Rand:

The club has supported me from 2004-present, and have helped me get my degree whilst studying part time alongside training for Beijing and London. They couldn’t have been more helpful.

My Parents – John and Aly Townsend:

Mum and Dad were a driving force in encouraging me to at least try rowing on the ‘Start’ programme in 2002 when I was very apprehensive. Since then they have followed me around the world supporting me through bad and good Sam and Tasha Page's wedding day with family all aroundresults!

My Wife – Tasha:

Tash has had to put up with me whilst we were on the team together from 2006-2012 and since she retired…..(rowing can stress me out a bit sometimes!). She has been amazing!

Andrew T Hodge

Ed Green, Pete Sheppard:

Ed, Student Captain, and coach, Staffordshire Uni.  With no support he had passion and relentless drive. “Shep” Coach at MBC and an equal passion that put mJurgen Grobler coached the men's eight to World Championships gold in 2014e on course for the GB Team.

Jurgen Grobler:

Because he made it happen.

Eeke, and Liv and Peter Hodge:

The support from my family has been so important in so many ways, from when I was a child to everything I have now.

Imogen Walsh

My parents:

……who surprised me the most by encouraging me to give up my job and move to London to try taking rowing from an after-work hobby to a full time job. I never thought they’d be behind such a far-flung idea…

Clyde ARC:

……..where I started competing in sculling, and the tiny training group we had there, who kept each other going in dark winter nights in the crumbling rat infested boat house, and making training fun. I learnt so much from training with you.

Inverness RC:

……who first started me coxing, despite the fact that I wasn’t the most enthusiastic apprentice! But without that, I doubt I would have taken it up later at Glasgow Uni BC as a cox, and from where I ended up in a rowing seat instead of the coxes seat.

Jonny Walton

My Family & Friends:

……who have always been there and supported my journey.  Special shoutout to Mum, Dad, Natalie, Molly and the Dukes of Duke Street.

Leicester RC and Team H.

My first rowing club, and my original coach Howard Marsh who took me from a Junior through U23s and into the GB Rowing Team. Without you I would never be here. #myfirstoar

Loughborough Students RC and Loughborough Sport:

My University and everyone who made my three years a very special time. I was lucky enough to receive a sporting scholarship, no doubt Loughborough helped develop me into the athlete I am today. Big thanks particularly to John Walton and Caroline Robertson. #wherehistorybegins #lufbrawow

Melanie Wilson

Imperial College London:A lesson in perspective for Mel

Such incredible support from all the coaches and athletes at such a lovely club, helped me through one medical degree, and hopefully two Olympic Games.

My almost one year old Niece Ruby:

The best little reminder to keep big perspective.

My family — Karen and Patrick Wilson, Rebecca Cameron:

For always amazing, and sometimes embarrassing, levels of support.

And from the whole GB Rowing Team:

Organisationally, the GB Rowing Team thanks all its funders and backers and supporters and suppliers.  Helping to get us to the start line in good shape for next week’s Europeans are: lottery players all around the UK, the good folk at SAS Software and Science in Sport, the team at the Berkshire Independent Hospital and the guys across the capital at Andrews Skykes air-conditioning.  As well as countless others who help in small ways every day.