One of the founders of The Boat Race, the Very Reverend Charles Merrivale was Dean of Ely Cathedral. And although The Boat Race’s home is on the Championship Course, in 1944 and 2021, the Race was held in Ely.

As part of The Boat Race legacy there, we supported the local state school rowing programme and play a meaningful part in the provision of coaching and development Ely College has initiated a school rowing programme, The Boat Race funding has facilitated the following provision:

  • Reduction of membership fee for the year
  • Enabled the school to ensure young people who might otherwise be unable to join to be given the opportunity.
  • All students have had the opportunity to represent the college in competition.
  • 100% of eligible students have also completed Duke of Edinburgh Award with rowing as the skill.

Ely College has forged a partnership with a local rowing club, Isle of Ely. Their Coaches and volunteer members have dedicated hours of time towards developing and training students. The junior rowers have thoroughly enjoyed their new sporting experiences and now over 74% of the new cohort of rowers joined Isle of Ely Rowing Club. In addition the Boat Race funding has enabled Ely College staff to train as Level 2 coaches.

Isle of Ely Rowing Club is located opposite the Cambridge University Boat House with over 13km of unobstructed water. The river is wide enough for several boats side by side and with little river traffic. The club also enjoys a good working relationship with Cambridge University Boat Club. Isle of Ely juniors rowers volunteered and were closely involved in the delivery the 2021 Boat Race in Ely. The juniors found the experience eye opening and were inspired by the Boat Race competitors.

Ely College and Isle of Ely will make a new rowing history in Cambridgeshire

Ely College works with over 1400 students ranging in age from 11-18. Students live predominantly in the City of Ely and surrounding towns. The college aims to develop and foster physical activity habits and lifelong engagement opportunities through its curriculum and extra-curricular offer. The partnership with Isle of Ely Rowing Club has increased the number of junior rowers from the city of Ely taking up the sport.

With an initial Partnership 6-week taster sessions selected committed students are able to enjoy weekly extra-curricular sessions. Despite sessions at 7.30am throughout the year the students have continued to show outstanding enthusiasm and commitment to the sport.

We are delighted to know that our support will bring more young people to our sport where they will learn new skills and develop fitness with team-mates.