Rowing club launches 'Mabel' the boat on River Calder in Mirfield

Pennine Canoe & Rowing Club celebrates move to Battyeford

Howard Holmes and Sarah Garg, of the Pennine Canoe & Rowing Club, take out Mabel, believed to be the first competition rowing boat to be on the River Calder at Battyeford, Mirfield, since the 1860s. The club's new jetty is in the background.

A rowing club in Mirfield celebrated its launch by unveiling its latest member – Mabel.

Mabel’s a fully-equipped competition boat, and when she was sent out onto the water it was believed to be the first time a competition boat had been on the River Calder at Battyeford since the 1860s.

The Pennine Canoe and Rowing Club is now based on the Calder, off Wood Lane at Battyeford, and has recently completed a new jetty.

The jetty was paid for by a £12,500 grant from Mirfield area committee.

The club, which previously had boat storage off Leeds Road, Huddersfield, has around 100 members.

The club is now making itself at home in Mirfield and is planning to attract new, younger members and wants to get more children on the water.

Club chairman David Jefferies told how an appeal through British Rowing resulted in other clubs offering surplus boats to help re-float the Battyeford boating tradition.

Mabel came from a club in Lancaster and three other boats – worth a combined total of up to £8,000 – were also donated.

“It’s given us a big boost,” said David.

It is only since moving to Battyeford that the club has researched Mirfield’s boating history.

They found there was a Mirfield Rowing Club until the mid-1860s and regular regattas were held.

“We know the club stopped functioning in the mid-1860s but we didn’t know why,” said David. “No records seem to exist.

“When Mabel took to the water we believe that was the first time there has been a competitive rowing boat on the river since the 1860s.”

Club members Howard Holmes and Sarah Garg were the first to put Mabel through her paces.

 
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