History maker Rainbird aims for inspiration

A FORMER junior rowing champion has made history after becoming the first female captain in the 150-year history of Huntingdon Boat Club. Rhiannon Rainbird, 23, has been an active member of the club for more than 10 years and this week was appointed club

A FORMER junior rowing champion has made history after becoming the first female captain in the 150-year history of Huntingdon Boat Club.

Rhiannon Rainbird, 23, has been an active member of the club for more than 10 years and this week was appointed club captain.

The former Hinchingbrooke School pupil said: "We have had a fantastic year with the rowing side of the club taking off and I am hoping to see the continued development of an already-excellent social atmosphere.

"I hope to be able to inspire new members to join and enjoy the sport of rowing, encouraging a real sense of community."


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Huntingdon Boat Club was one of the first clubs to be founded away from the Thames Valley and was the first club to be formed in Huntingdonshire.

Established in 1854, the club's female member numbers have been up and down and at one stage women were even barred from the club, making Rainbird's appointment all the more significant.

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Former club captain Edward Adams said: "I know she will make a good captain for the club and she has the capabilities to really make a difference to its future."

Rainbird also reinforced her commitment to the club's strong novice ladies squad, whom she has helped to coach.

Squad member Olivia Pileth said: "Everyone involved at the club is getting so much out of rowing - as a team they are prepared to work hard to give as much back to the club as we get out of it.

"Rhiannon has been putting so much into the club since I joined and has a lot of support behind her."

The club is hosting its annual Head of the River event on October 27.

* St Ives Rowing Club members joined with 350 crews from across the country to take part in the Autumn Fours at Bedford.

Gary Gilbey was among the club's top performers, coming eighth in the novice single sculls, while Bex Williams and Ian Brown came second in the mixed senior two double scull event.

Michele Levens, Williams, Gilbey and Brown teamed up for the quadruple scull, finishing in equal 54th place overall.

Junior rower James Hadley had to settle for second place in the J16 and J18 single scull events.

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