Support » Support Archive » Expressions of support 2

Below, in a slideshow format are just some of the comments, letters and emails of support we have received for the Bedford Rowing Lake project.

We fully support the use of the land in Willington to be used as a rowing lake and park facility.

Facilities like this are very few and far between and we could make Bedford the envy of many others by having it in our own district.

Bedford has long been known as a rowing town and this park will make Bedford a rowing capital . Our town always seems to lose out on the facilities and parks front to other neighbouring counties.

I look forward to taking my children there and making them proud of their town.

Lets just get on with it!!

D. Milligan

As Events Secretary of Bedford Rowing Club, the Committee and I organise the four biggest rowing events on the river at Bedford at present. At a recent Head of the River Race, we received over 600 entries and regretfully had to turn away a third of them as we could not fit them on the river! This last May and July Regattas which we were involved in, we had a race every 2-3 minutes over a 10 hour period!

You will see from this that Bedford is a major centre for rowing in this country. Our success has been built on putting the oarsmen and women first. To expand even further, we need urgently, a rowing course which can accommodate even larger numbers. We have the infrastrucure, we have the ‘manpower’, we have the enthusiasm. All we need is a course!

John MingayEvents Secretary, BRC

Since the crass decision to bring the canal into Bedford at Kempston will destroy river rowing in Bedford and replace it with noisy dirty diesel boats, it is important to have a rowing centre to replace it.

I trust the planners will allow the application

Keyth RichardsonMA FHCIMA M Inst TT Cert Ed.

As a Bedfordian born and bred I am surprised that it has taken so long for this project to get to this stage and congratulate those who have been working so hard to see this ambition fulfilled.

The issue here is not really better facilities for water sports with a sensational park for the enjoyment of all Bedfordians, this is far more important than that. It is one of opportunity to enliven the economy of the area. The Lake will bring jobs and industry to our area and be a boost to the aspirations of local people.

This Lake will bring to Bedford a status of excellence not only in the UK but internationally . The town is already known for John Bunyan, its football team, its rowing and its schools but this Lake far exceeds anything that we have had the chance to enjoy before.

There must be no more ambivalence, those making this decision should be proud of the new opportunities they are bringing to the Town, those thinking negatively should bear in mind that they are denying local young people a new future with nothing as an alternative.

“No you can not have the lake and we have nothing else to offer you as an alternative” is not a slogan for anyone’s manifesto, it will be seized on by opposition parties should this chance go begging. Heaven help any planning officer denying our young people a better future.

Heads up Bedfordians our town now has a great future.

Richard Groom

This is a fantastic opportunity to create a first class rowing facility that will have lasting benefits for generations to come. Historically rowing has played an important role in our town, the Willington Rowing Lake would ensure it has an even greater future.

Cllr Peter Hand

Dear Sir/Madam

As a former rower at Bedford High School I wish to inform you of my wholehearted support for the rowing lake proposal.

I wish to underline the huge recreational and economical benefits that a rowing lake would bring to Bedford.

Rowing as a sport has gained huge popularity internationally particularly since our success in the last Olympics (including Tim Foster former Bedford Modern School pupil). It is a sport that is enjoyed at any level by 15 year olds through to 60 year olds.

The lake would be easily accessible for crews from all over the country and indeed from abroad.

As greater and greater demands are put upon open and green spaces in the South of England a rowing lake would be a highly valued asset by local people one which could be enjoyed by all.

Miss Claire Barker

To whom it may concern

I wanted to offer my support to the development of the proposed rowing lake as highlighted on the web site I believe that if this proposal is not supported by the local community and more specifically the local council that this will prove to be a great loss for the people of Bedfordshire both current and in the future.

We are constantly bombarded with messages in the local paper about how Bedford is trying to rejuvenate and offer itself as an attractive place to work, live and indeed to visit. We also see messages of despair from similar people bemoaning the fact that Milton Keynes is causing the downfall of the Bedfordshire area and that the town is unable to compete due to the superior facilities that MK offers. Well it would seem that in the rowing lake that Bedford has an opportunity to gain a competitive advantage over the “big bad bully boy” that is Milton Keynes and to offer something different to that offered in the surrounding area – an opportunity to Innovate not Imitate (usually on a smaller scale).

And this, I guess that is the rub. For the leaders and pathfinders of this world, innovation is the key to onwards development for the less skilled, able and visionary public servant – imitation is a far less risky, albeit less potentially rewarding, path as it has already been proven by someone else. I realise that rowing is regarded as a minority sport and as such the councillors will argue that it is not in the interests of the general public – however, even in a local perspective remember the pride in the area following the Olympic Gold medal winning exploits of Redgrave (including local boy Tim Foster). Likewise, the meteoric rise of our own Paula was met with huge local pride, even giving her the dubious honour of naming a road after her – to my knowledge Marathon running is not a sport supported or undertaken by a large majority of the local population. I would like to draw one more parallel, and that is the historic belief that rugby was for the upwardly mobile members of the community, football being the working mans game – and yet look at the national pride as the recent winning exploits of the England rugby team in Australia.

It would also appear that outside of sport the rowing lake, the area will also create some stunning local landscape while will benefit all in the local area and who knows may even bring a few people into the local area, who may even “spend a few quid” while they are here, benefiting local business.

Should the local people and their representatives take the easy way out on the rowing lake, then it is likely that this stance will capitulate on other issues. In the short term, this will mean that rowing, locally at least remain an elitist sport and the opportunity to get involved for the next potential generation of world champions will not come from Bedford.

I trust that the views highlighted in this email, which are my own (and I should point out that I have never rowed in a boat – so it can not be condemned as the ramblings of a core activist in the sport), may strike a note with the policy makers within the local area and will highlight the road upon which has been embarked for too long and must now be redressed before it is too late for Bedfordshire and “big bad MK” has taken all.

I leave you with these words “PRIDE IN BEDFORD”.

Andrew Haworth

Dear Sir or Madam

I would like to offer my support of the proposed new rowing facility at Willington, Beds.

I have been a resident in Bedford for the past 40 years and to date I cannot recall the Borough, or County for that matter, proceeding with any application that has enthused the public and led to national recognition.

In my present employment I am constantly challenged to be inventive and have vision. I was always led to believe that people in positions of authority were there because they were deemed to be innovative, have vision and were prepared to take chances in order to achieve the goal. I am afraid that in my opinion both the Borough and County have been sadly lacking in these qualities.

We constantly read about ‘ideas’ emanating from those on high. How often are they put in practise? How slow are they to recognise the potential and move projects forward? It takes a very special character indeed to take up the challenge. I would like to say to our councillors – ‘Are you one of those?’ If not then perhaps you should question why you are doing the job.

With this proposal we have the opportunity not only to develop a facility for public use but also to begin the process of putting Bedford on the map. I go to places like Nottingham, Peterborough, Norwich etc, all because they have a facility that is not available in or near to Bedford. In addition at this present time the government are ‘trying hard’ to put money into sporting facilities for the public. Millions are being allocated by the Lottery, New Opportunities Fund, Football Foundation, to name but a few. There is a national recognition that more and more of the youth of today are suffering from obesity. I could go on…

Let’s stop the talking and get back to the basics. Remember, you are there to do a job to serve the public in their interests. Get on and do it. The old saying ‘ Action speaks louder than words’ should be at the forefront of anyone with visionary powers. Where do you stand in all of this? Do you have the action or just the words?

You have the opportunity to make that difference and I would ask you to grasp it and proceed with the development while you still have the chance.

Mr A Callow

I am writing to let you know of my strong support for Bedford Rowing Lake. There is a clear need for a world class facility that will elevate the region’s status in the sport and complement the facilities and reputation of Bedford Athletic Club.

Bedford’s premier asset is it’s stunning river location and it seems not just logical but essential to build on this asset, as well as to provide a sporting facility for local residents and UK sportsmen and women.

I sincerely hope that this project will go ahead, and that we can all look forward to a new jewel in Bedford’s crown.

Elizabeth S Clark

Dear Sir

I note that on February 13th the Planning Officers of Bedfordshire County Council will make a decision on whether to support the Bedford Rowing Lake project.

Three of us in my family are keen rowers and we strongly support the Rowing Lake Project. Bedford has a long rowing history and consistently produces an impressive array of national and international oarsmen and women.

The River Ouse, with its twists, turns and several bridges is far from being ideal as a training and racing course. It is frequently crowded with boats, in competition with the anglers, who have just as much right to use the river as us rowers. The strong currents and rapidly changing water levels throughout the winter period considerably reduce the safety levels a number of times to a point where rowing has to be suspended.

If, in due course, the Grand Union Canal link comes to fruition, with all its undoubted benefits to leisure and commerce in Bedford, then the increased motorboat traffic will have a considerable impact on the rowing community, with little room for crews to pass.

The Rowing Lake project will not only solve all these problems at a stroke (no pun intended) but will provide such enhanced facilities in a superb and natural environment that Bedford cannot help but become an internationally known centre for rowing and other watersports. But not only that – the Lake Project will also provide a multitude of other facilities and opportunities for leisure activities for Bedford and the surrounding communities and a much needed habitat and haven for wildlife.

I urge everyone involved in the planning and decision-making process to grasp this exciting opportunity and make sure Bedford gets the full benefit from Bedford Rowing Lake.

Dick PeakeStar Rowing Club member