Bedford Rowing Club Autumn Fours and Small Boats Head returns this Sunday 8 October

On Sunday 8 October, more than 325 rowers from across the south east of England will race head-to-head at the Bedford Rowing Club Autumn Fours and Small Boats Head. Members of the public are being encouraged to cheer on from the banks of the River Great Ouse in the centre of Bedford.
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Starting at Queens Park and finishing just after the Butterfly Bridge opposite Russell Park on the Embankment, rowers from 16 to 70 years of age will compete for a medal across six divisions. 80 volunteers from Bedford Rowing Club will be on hand to organise the rowers and the race, which runs from 9am to 5pm.

Bedford has a long history of rowing, and Bedford Rowing Club has produced athletes of the highest calibre, whilst continuing to support the grass roots of the sport since 1886. The Bedford Regatta is one of the town’s oldest sporting events and has launched the rowing careers of Olympic, World Champions and Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race winners.

Bedford Rowing Club President Hugh Maltby said: Bedford Rowing Club is delighted to host crews from schools and clubs across the south east of England, competing across six divisions. Unlike many other sports, rowing is open to everyone, young and old, experienced or novice. The sport rewards participants by giving them an array of life skills, as well as significant health benefits and lifelong friendships, made on and off the water.

Crews compete at Bedford Rowing Club Autumn Fours and Small Boats Head Crews compete at Bedford Rowing Club Autumn Fours and Small Boats Head
Crews compete at Bedford Rowing Club Autumn Fours and Small Boats Head

Bedford Rowing Club's current membership includes juniors, women, men, seniors and masters, with everyone from former Olympians aged 80+ to juniors aged 13 who have just learnt to row.

Club stalwart Bill Sandler started rowing in 1963 and won his first race at Evesham Rowing Club in a coxed novice 4 in 1964. Bill has since gone on to win more than 1300 medals and pots over the last 60 years, including Henley Masters Regatta and many of the World Rowing Masters Regattas since 1991.

More recently, Bedford Rowing Club junior rowers Ellie Cooke and George Reed were selected for the GB start program. Ellie has won gold for England at the Home International Rowing Regatta, and George represented GB at the U23 European Championships in Germany coming 2nd in the men’s eight final.

The current Women’s Senior Squad has seen a huge increase in members, thanks to the club’s Learn to Row course. Open to both competitive and recreational rowers, the squad is coached by Dave Pendall, who at 80 is now the oldest club rowing coach in the UK. Dave recently coached a new women’s coxless quad to 3rd place at the British Rowing Masters Championships in Peterborough.

Bedford Rowing Club Coach Dave PendalBedford Rowing Club Coach Dave Pendal
Bedford Rowing Club Coach Dave Pendal

The club has a great social side and regularly runs events throughout the year both on and off the water. The dog friendly club bar is open to the public, and has one of Bedford’s best river views from the club house balcony. Serving coffees, breakfasts and drinks, the club offers venue hire and runs regular functions throughout the year, including the Annual Dinner and Dance, painting parties, fancy dress and barbecues.

Hugh Maltby added: We are proud of the club and its place at the heart of the Bedford community and would love to see families and dog walkers on the Embankment this Sunday cheering on the crews, and enjoying a hot drink from the club house balcony opposite The Swan Hotel. For more information on the club please visit

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