Yearly Archives: 2021

Covid 19 update, January 2021

Following clarification by British Canoeing of the headline Covid 19 restrictions and what it means for clubs, the club has no option but to close the clubhouse, boatshed and unfortunately the ability for members to launch from the site.

British Canoeing has received confirmation that paddling for exercise on the waterways is permitted and confirmed with Sport England that collecting personal equipment belonging to an individual, from a facility such as a boathouse, to enable individual exercise is permitted. However, under the new guidelines, all sports facilities must close. This includes the site. Club members that access their personal equipment should store it at home and launch only from a public space.

We know this is very disappointing, but these are unprecedented times.

Members can access the site to remove their boats and equipment by booking a slot on the access sheet over the coming week. However, after that we will limit access. If subsequently you need to recover equipment, please send a request to and we will arrange it.

British Canoeing published their latest Covid update yesterday with a reminder to paddle safely and to be fully prepared for winter conditions:

For any member experiencing financial difficulties due to Covid, please contact membership secretary, Sabine, directly on

Zoom Fitness sessions:

Don’t forget, Nigel and Sarah are still running fitness circuits and core exercises, Monday to Friday 5.30-6.30pm and on Saturday at 8.30am.

Zoom Invite:…

Zoom meeting code 947 1982 0964 and password RCC-Core

Thank you. Keep safe, keep fit and stay well.

Covid-19 update, December 22nd, 2020 – Independent paddling

Following clarification from British Canoeing on some points that are not 100% clear in the legislation, we are able to make a few small concessions to accessing the club during this time in Tier 4.

Firstly, we would like to thank the large number who have been understanding and supportive both publicly and behind the scenes in the last few days.  This was a very hard decision, taken in an incredibly short amount of time, with the best information that was available at the point we needed to make it. The Government has published multiple updates since our initial decision was made, some of them after the rules came into force. It has always been our priority to keep reviewing the guidance as it comes out over the last nine months, and we will continue to do so.

To the best of our knowledge, all clubs in Tier 4 areas took the same approach as we initially did, and some are not reviewing that. 

British Canoeing have now had enough clarification from Sport England to allow a very limited opening to the boatshed. They have made it clear that this is still an interim position, but they seem relatively confident in it.

Access to boatshed

The restrictions limit the number of people allowed in the boatshed. Given the layout and size of our boatshed, numbers allowed in at any one time will be limited to one pair (for those paddling with someone not of their household bubble) or one family or training group, up to a maximum of four people. Distancing must be maintained when in the boatshed. Due to this reduction in number allowed in the boatshed at any one time, we will be limiting site access numbers to 4 per 15 min launch window. If you can see or hear someone in the section of the boatshed you need to use, please wait until they finish before entering. The exception will be for K2s where the 2 paddlers may enter the same section but must stay a boat length apart while indoors.

U18s outdoor sessions

There is also a possibility of outdoor sessions for under 18s resuming. However, there are significant hurdles to achieve this. Due to these hurdles we have contacted coaches directly and those whose groups are able to operate within the restrictions will be in contact with their paddlers, with clear instructions. This is likely to take some time and highly likely not to involve all groups.

To clarify, the outdoor rules are very similar to November. You may paddle individually with one other person or in a family group. Access to the club is via the booking sheet. Depending on how the ‘one in, one out’ access to the boatshed goes, we may need to adjust either the length of the slots or the number of people allowed to book.

All indoor facilities including Toilets and Changing Rooms are out of bounds and you should not be changing in the boatshed. Please come ready to paddle and leave in the kit you paddled in. We appreciate this is unwelcome and may cause problems given the time of year, but it is the only way we can reopen the boatshed.

All members should be aware of the government guidelines surrounding travel into and out of Tier 4 areas, and the club encourages members to abide by these guidelines.

Main points distilled:

·      Book a site access to the club via the booking sheet – four per 15-min slot or one household

·      You may paddle individually, with one other person outside your household, or as a family group

·      Come ready changed and leave as you are – all inside changing areas, including the boatshed, are not to be used for changing

·      Only one pair or household/family within the boatshed at any one time

·      Toilets and all upstairs areas are out of bounds

·      Club boats may be used, K1 and K2

·      Please make sure you wipe down any areas you have touched and wash your hands frequently

·      Always keep 2 metres social distances in any areas while on the club site

·      If you come by car, please keep all your belongings within the car

·      If you must have a bag, please keep packed tidily in the boatshed for quick removal at the end

Many thanks for your patience and take care paddling. The river is on red and is likely to continue so for some time to come.

MBE for Tamsin

For voluntary services to Waterways and to Young People through Girlguiding UK

Tamsin, with Amber, in Switzerland

We are so delighted that Reading Canoe Club member Tamsin Phipps has been awarded an MBE in this New Year’s Honours list. This is for her very considerable volunteer work for Waterways and young people.

Tamsin has always been passionate about the development of young people and also about sport, constantly making them a central part of her career and volunteer work. That started early on with her teaching qualification, continued when she joined the army, with a special interest in organising a number of the sports teams and has continued since.

Most notably for young people has been her volunteer work with the Brownies and the Girl Guides. Having been very involved in the Guide Association as a child – Brownies, Guides and Rangers, even becoming a Queen’s Guide – Tamsin knew the value that Guiding has in society and the life skills it can give to a young person, as well as being lots of fun. 

As an adult, Tamsin first became involved in the Brownies when she left the army. After that, she became a Rainbow leader in Woodley, then, on moving to Wargrave in 2004, took on the role of Brownie Owl. In 2010 she established the village’s Guide Unit, so her Brownies would have somewhere to progress to. In 2016, at the request of her older Guides, she opened a Ranger Unit and Tamsin now runs this with her daughter Amber. Tamsin continues to run the village Guides whilst also carrying out wider duties for the Guide movement. That includes being Berkshire County Boating Advisor, a mentor for other guide leaders, Residential and Guide Advisor and being the Joint Division Commissioner for Maidenhead.


As Government and Public Affairs Manager during her time with British Canoeing, she led the nationally acclaimed Rivers Access campaign, promoting greater public access to rivers. Essential, of course, to all paddlers and an aspect we now take for granted. She also established a huge network of high-profile supporters and was successful in launching a Private Members Bill in the House of Commons. At this time, she was also asked to become a special adviser to the minister and became a member of the Inland Waterways Advisory Council. Tamsin was also actively involved in the restructuring of the British Waterways Board into the Canal and Rivers Trust, taking on the voluntary position of Chair of both Kennet and Avon and Bridgewater canals partnership.

And closest to home, Tamsin was key in transforming the ramshackle wooden hut that was Reading Canoe Club into the amazing facility we all enjoy today. On moving to Reading in the mid 1990s, she became a member of Reading Canoe Club, and its Chair within a year of joining. She had a vision to transform it with a new purpose-built facility. She took responsibility for all aspects of the project – from fund raising to procurement and overseeing the construction of the building – with its completion and opening in 1998.

Tamsin’s racing prowess:

As a competitor Tamsin has made a name for herself as a specialist in the 125-mile Devizes to Westminster Canoe Race. Known as the Canoeist’s Everest and referred to by Ex Royal Marine Paddy Ashdown as the hardest thing he has ever done, the race has a daunting reputation. Tamsin has completed the race on many occasions becoming only the second woman to join the 1000-mile club (8 successful completions). She has won the race 3 times and her fastest race placed her 5th against the men. Additionally, in competition she achieved National Marathon Champion status in kayak doubles and has served on numerous voluntary committees. 

And her list for volunteering goes on … she remains a key figure at the canoe club and, as well as all the above, also volunteers as a Reading Street Pastor, caring for her community during the night at weekends and at major events including Reading Festival.

Congratulations on your MBE, Tamsin. Hugely well deserved. We are proud to have you at the club.