Cambridge University Boat Club (CUBC) Women’s President Bronya Sykes offered inspiration and insights into one of rowing’s toughest training programmes to state school students from North Cambridge Academy at a session for the new East Anglia Youth Rowing (EAYR) charity this week.

The new charity supported by British Rowing and CUBC, aims to provide greater access to the sport of rowing for all 11-18 year olds across the East Anglia region. Sykes took time out from a busy schedule of academics and rowing ahead of the Boat Race on 3 April to help students learning to row, with answers to their questions on the sport and offer a few tips on the indoor rowing machine.

The EAYR scheme is modelled on the successful London Youth Rowing programme which focuses on young people less likely to engage in physical activity and those with special educational needs or physical disability in some of the most disadvantaged areas.

The East Anglia Youth Rowing programme, which will also include introduction to life skills and apprenticeship programmes running in Cambridge, is being organised by City of Cambridge Rowing Club President Tony Nelder in conjunction with town rowing clubs across the region.

Nelder, who fell in love with rowing as a young state school student at Netherhall School and has spent a lifetime in the sport since, is passionate about rowing’s transformational power.

Tony Nelder said: “Cambridgeshire has some of the greatest wealth disparity in the UK, so it seems pretty obvious to me that we can and should provide young people at our local state schools with access to a sporting programme that can change your life.”

Bronya, who started rowing as a junior in a tiny club on the outskirts of Manchester and whose crew will defend Cambridge’s title on the Thames in London against Oxford next month in one of the world’s oldest and most famous rowing races, said local youth rowing is a key path into the sport.

Bronya Sykes said: “It’s great to be able to get out and talk with students from schools just a stone’s throw from the boathouse where Cambridge train and see their enthusiasm for a sport where the clubs are looking to provide access to young people across all of Cambridge’s communities.”

London Youth Rowing is supported by The Boat Race Company Limited and its principal partner Gemini

18th March 2022

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