60 years in the making
Born from the RAF
Star Club was formed in 1960 by former National Service members of RAF Cardington Rowing Club which had distinguished itself in high performance racing for a number of years. Such was the bond between these young men (and their compatriots at RAF Henlow) that they opted to remain in Bedford on completion of their National Service and became founder members of the Club. Many are still regular attendees. The Club’s first president was W S Robertson CBE. Ted Poynter was the first Captain and coach. The Club’s first premises were a converted timber store, about 100 metres upstream from Poynter’s Boathouse, the Club’s current site.
From the outset, the Club’s principal ambition has been to provide facilities to enable local athletes to compete at the highest possible level. In 1962, it won the Jackson Trophy for the fastest provincial crew at the Head of the River Race and has gone on to win the Trophy a further 5 times; the last occasion being in 2011.
The Club has a proud record of nurturing future international athletes competing at World Championships and the Olympic Games in Atlanta, Barcelona and Sydney, where in 2000 Tim Foster won a Gold Medal competing in the Coxless Four with Steve Redgrave, Matthew Pinsent and James Cracknell.
1967 saw the introduction of Junior rowing at the Club, which with the support of the Poynter Charitable Trust has flourished to the point where the Junior Squad is an important part of the Club and receives enthusiastic support from its members. Thanks to the support from the Poynter Charitable Trust, the Club itself and other donations, notably the Harpur Trust and Ceetak, the Junior Squad is managed by a full time Rowing Coach. This has helped the Squad to enjoy successes at the National Championships and Henley and for athletes to enjoy international recognition.
Another important milestone occurred in 1972 when the Club merged with Bedford Ladies Rowing Club to form the first mixed rowing club in Bedford. In 2001, Miriam Taylor won a Gold Medal in the Lightweight Coxless Pairs at the World Championships.
Today, the Club is a vibrant mix of athletes wishing to compete at the highest level and those that wish to enjoy rowing at a local level or indeed, as a recreational sport. It has thriving Senior, Masters and Recreational squads. Thanks to the generosity of its principal sponsor, Ceetak, it has an enviable fleet of boats and a well equipped clubhouse that underpins a lively social scene. As its history has shown, it is open to all, and is proud to accommodate all levels of ambition of its members.