A crew with a difference from Star Rowing Club shows that with the right support, neither age nor health issues present a bar to enjoying rowing while raising money for charity.
On 20th September, Star Club’s “Old Gents’ Quad Squad” celebrated its fourth anniversary with a sponsored relay-style half-marathon row, raising over £1400 for local dementia charity, Tibbs Dementia Foundation. With support from other club members, the squad took turns to row a 4km leg in a coxed quadruple sculling boat. The final leg was undertaken by our most senior line-up with an average age of 80: Gareth Swan-Brown (83), Mike Taylor (79), Bob Clark (78), Star Club founder member Lyn Parsons (80) and cox Chrissy Boggis.
Star Club’s “Old Gents’ Quad Squad” includes club members who, due to age or health reasons, would otherwise find it difficult to get out on the water. Squad members are mostly in their 70s and 80s and all regular rowers. Some competed at top events such as Henley Royal Regatta in their younger days and have continued to row ever since, while others have taken up rowing more recently. Two members of the squad have dementia diagnoses and both value the weekly session as essential to their emotional, physical and cognitive well-being.
Sarah Russell, CEO of Tibbs Dementia Foundation said: ‘Star Club is, I believe, unique in supporting people with dementia to continue to enjoy rowing – the sport they love – in a safe and supported environment.’
‘Keeping physically fit, cognitively stimulated and retaining social links is crucial for well-being in older age and especially for those with dementia. The Old Gents’ Quad Squad gives its members a weekly focus, a sense of belonging and purpose. Importantly they have a lot of fun and focus on what people can still do, encouraging them to continue to be the best that they can. Life goes on with dementia and people can live well and fully with the right support and understanding. The Old Gents’ Quad Squad is a perfect example of this.’