We would like to thank the dedicated volunteer team from Isle of Ely Rowing Club for their time and support. Volunteers are always essential members of the Boat Race delivery team, taking on specialist roles to enable the smooth running of this world-famous event. And the juniors from the Isle of Ely Rowing Club were superb volunteers for the Gemini Boat Race 2021.
Supported by Isle of Ely Rowing Club founder member Vicky Parry, the juniors took on a key role, holding the boats on the start line. In the days leading up to the event they spent hours in the cold wind practicing their tasks. They were supported by an experienced team to help them make the most of this opportunity, which was the first time of sports volunteering for many of them.
As an organisation, The Boat Race Company is committed to delivering a well organised, safe race for the crews and to creating an inclusive and engaging experience for the wider Boat Race family. Bringing young people into the delivery team is very important, as we want to positively engage with the local communities and bring them closer to the event.
Here’s what the volunteers had to say:
Katie: “In lockdown there was not much to look forward to, being part of the group made me so excited to get back to rowing. Everyone I met there was so nice. I am really happy that I got to be part of the 2021 Boat Race.”
Millie: “I volunteered because it was a once in a lifetime opportunity, and one day I want to be in one of the boats. On the pontoon it was really inspiring and interesting to see how much actually goes on to prepare for such a big rowing event and to be so close to the Cambridge and Oxford crews. Holding the boat was an honour and made me feel a part of the event. “
Isobel: “I volunteered because I thought it was such an amazing opportunity to be able to see the start of the boat race from a viewpoint that few other people would have seen. On the morning of the practice session, I was really nervous because I had very little experience with stake boating, but everyone was so patient and helpful. My favourite memory from Sunday was when I was holding the boat just before the umpire shouted go; I could really sense the tension and anticipation that the crews felt. The feeling that I was holding such a powerful boat was exhilarating.”
Eleanor: “I volunteered because I knew what a monumental race it was in the world of rowing and what an incredible opportunity it was to play a part in it and see the race from a front row seat., one of the best parts was being able to meet so many different people from different walks of life and hearing what brought them to the race and their experiences of rowing.”
Ted: “My family always watches the Boat Race, so I knew it was a big event. I was excited to be part of something that is so globally important. It was exciting seeing the crew members hyping each other up at the beginning of the race. They took the race really seriously, because they had been training for this race for so long, even throughout lockdown, and they REALLY wanted to win! All four crews did brilliantly, and both the men’s and women’s races were so close. Well done Cambridge and Oxford.
Even if you’re nervous, I would encourage you to give it a try, because although it’s a big responsibility, it’s a huge honour to participate and something memorable to look back on for the rest of your life.”
Olive: “Before being involved in this event, I had no knowledge of stake boat holders or their purpose, but after my first practice, I realised that holding the bottom of the boat with one hand and the side of the boat with the other was the best way for me. It was an excellent opportunity to witness the huge amounts of organisation that goes into these events. I also felt very lucky to be one of the few people able to witness the race in person.”
Thank you Eleanor, Isobel, Katie, Millie, Olive and Ted.
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