Come and get involved in 2024

The dates for our Try-it and Intro days for 2024 have just been announced.

The Try-it days will be on:

  • Sunday 21st April
  • Sunday 2nd June

The Intro courses will be on:

  • Sunday 12th May
  • Sunday 21st July
  • Sunday 1st September

To find out more about the Try-it days and how to sign up, click here.

To find out more about the Intro courses and how to sign up, click here.

Club Racing

Winner of Sports Volunteer of the Year: Wendy Dodson

Congratulations to Wendy Dodson for winning the ‘Sports Volunteer of the Year’ award.

Wendy is the head racing coach at Addlestone Canoe Club (ACC) and has spent the past 50 years dedicated to the sport, firstly as an individual athlete and in later years as a passionate coach. Wendy, along with her husband Andy, joined the club in the mid 1990’s and together founded the ‘Racing’ section and developed it into the successful program that it is today.

Wendy has been a World Class canoeist competing in numerous international events for Great Britain, including the Sprint World Championship in Sofia, Bulgaria, 1977 and winning the Marathon World Cup in Gudina, Denmark, 1983. She was also a formidable runner, top placing in the Nottingham Marathon in the early 1980s. Over the years Wendy’s passion for the sport has not waned and she still competes in National canoe marathon events as a veteran and runs with her friends weekly.

Wendy’s dedication to the sport has impacted many people’s lives. As the head race coach within the club, for over 25 years, everyone who races for ACC begins with Wendy’s coaching. From the many juniors that have been involved with the club over the years, six junior racers have gone on to represent Great Britain at International events (Sprint & Marathon) and a few have been chosen for the National Talent Program. As a small club, we have over-indexed in GB team representation verses club size, when compared with larger ‘Racing specific’ clubs. Additionally, Wendy has coached three crews (six people) in preparation for the gruelling Devizes-Westminster 125 mile endurance race.

During a recent audit of volunteer hours given by members, Wendy stood out from all others, with a mighty 467 hours per year or 9 hours per week, which she dedicates to our club, the community and the sport. Within the ACC, this includes coaching, supporting members at races, club maintenance, environmental clear-ups, committee meetings, safeguarding and first aid. Alongside her commitments to ACC, Wendy is on the British Canoeing National Sprint Regatta Committee and gives 4 weekends per year to running National regatta events plus sixteen hours at the planning meetings associated with these events.

In addition to her coaching work, Wendy is the club welfare officer, a critical role, with key responsibilities such as ensuring all adults working with vulnerable people have up to date DBS checks in place. She is an active member of the club committee and helps to organise our ‘come and try it’ days run by ACC, which encourages ‘newbies’ in the local community to try out many different forms of paddle sport, hopefully joining us as new members to enjoy the sport all year round. She also coordinates the purchase and distribution of club racing kit and branded casual clothing.

Addlestone Canoe Club is highly regarded in the canoeing community and Wendy was instrumental in the club attaining the British Canoeing award of ‘Club Mark; by leading the team writing our policies and procedures. The attainment of ‘Club Mark’ status was key to unlocking the potential of the club, enabling us to acquire funding to provide more opportunities for paddle sport in the community. Following on from this, Wendy then built the ‘development & talent pathways’ for Junior racers, which guides individuals and coaches through the stages of development from beginner to elite athlete. Addlestone Canoe Club has now been awarded ‘Talent Club’ status from British Canoeing.

Through her work in the club and the Canoeing community, Wendy has been a driving force behind bringing visibility of the sport to as many people as possible in the wider Runnymede borough. Wendy was instrumental in ACC (jointly) hosting the National Hasler Final
British Marathon Racing in 2022. This took place in Runnymede and lead to the club getting recognition from the public and both local and county councillors.

Wendy’s passion for all aspects of the sport, meant that she also championed for a clean and safe environment and initiated river clean up days from ACC. These involve general litter picking and the removal of non-native invasive plant species such as floating pennywort from the local waterways. These days are fun, educational and also benefit the local community by maintaining a valuable local amenity, the Wey Navigation. Such is the popularity of these events; they have been expanded from being run in the school holidays for junior club members, to hosting locally based global companies such as Sky TV for their staff activity volunteer events. These days have been recognised by British Canoeing who presented ACC with the ‘Clear Access, Clear Waters’ award.


Summary of the year

Addlestone Canoe Club is a charity set up to run activities that teach young people and families in our community to enjoy the outdoors through paddlesport and stay safe on the water.

All administrators, coaches and helpers are volunteers working together to achieve our objectives and so much more. The support of our members is instrumental in our success and they make our club a friendly and inclusive place to be. The committee thank our
volunteers for their support.

We have now spent two years in our new building, activities are back to pre-pandemic levels. We now have a new secure app suitable for members’ communications, it is very busy with good information and fits well with our safeguarding objectives.

Behind the scenes the committee review our processes and policies keeping the club in line with the requirements of a modern voluntary group. We have continued to raise funds improving the clubs facilities and have successfully raised an extra £40,000 since the build project enabling us to invest in equipment, tech and training that we need to engage new participants.

The club has achieved so much in the year – here’s just some of the highlights.

  • Increased Membership numbers to pre covid levels
  • Two Come and Try It Days for the general public
  • Four Introductory Courses for the general public
  • Regular taster sessions for all
  • Car park resurfaced and grass re-laid
  • New gates and fencing installed, securing the site
  • New race kayaks delivered-enabling new participants to experience and enjoy this discipline, being used by beginner adults and juniors
  • Replacement canoes ordered, particularly to service families and youth groups
  • New SUPs (stand up paddleboards) delivered, introducing a newly accessible discipline to the community, with ACC being able to teach safe use of this craft for private owners. The SUPs are also very useful for coaches when supervising introductory sessions
  • First aid and safeguarding courses run for club volunteers
  • Skills training for white water and racing coaches run for club volunteers
  • Addlestone Canoe Club nominated as Runnymede Mayor’s charity for 2023/24
  • Ran schools and community group sessions including Runnymede
    community development scheme sessions
  • Assisted at the Virginia Water Lake safety day, run by Surrey Fire and Rescue Service – continuing to be involved in promoting safety on our waterways
  • Made links with Runnymede Borough Council to offer sessions to Ukrainian families
  • Engaged our youth members during school holidays to
    assist with clearance of Floating Pennywort (an invasive species), promoting awareness to the local and wider community too by inviting volunteers from Sky and Tribe Outside Group
  • Working towards two British Canoeing awards –clear access, clear
    waters and sports performance
  • Trips organised to white water rivers (Lake District, Devon, South Wales, North Wales), developing the skills of members
    and volunteer coaches.
  • Flat water trips in Kent and Surrey
  • The racing section has continued to attend events with great success for all age groups
  • Working towards offering junior Freestyle opportunities
  • Working to promote daytime, weekday paddling for retired persons and shift workers

Every week, 50 weeks of the year our volunteers run club sessions and community sessions from March to October.

Feedback from visitors has been really positive and our reputation continues to grow as an inclusive and friendly club providing safe, fun outdoor experiences for all.

After much financial investment in the build we are now in a strong position to invest financially in our people. Keeping membership and equipment usage fees as accessible as possible, Addlestone Canoe Club is working to put on funded training events for our coaches and helpers and create a ‘hardship fund’ to make paddlesport accessible to all.

Many Thanks to our committee, coaches, helpers and ALL of our members, helping Addlestone Canoe Club to meet its objectives.


Christmas paddle

The club brought the year to a close with the traditional Christmas paddle.

As a fun outing for all members, it involved decorations, dressing up, a paddle challenge, and food and drink back at the clubhouse.

This tops off an outstanding year for Addlestone Canoe Club, with the whitewater, freestyle, and racing groups all undertaking many activities, and encouraging paddlers to excel in all areas.

We’ve also introduced many new paddlers to the joys of kayaking, canoeing, and paddle boarding, and many took advantage of the discounted membership through the summer.

Plans are already being put in place for another exciting year of paddling.


Try-it day fun!

At the end of April, Addlestone Canoe Club had over 60 members of the public visit for try-it sessions on our try-it day.

The try-it day sessions each last an hour, and attendees could have a go at paddling kayaks, canoes, or stand-up paddle boards, learning about the basics of controlling paddle craft, as well as an introduction to safety on the water.

As with all of our activities, the day was run by volunteer coaches and helpers, and we are massively grateful to the support of all of our members who help make these events happen.

We still have more try-it days as well as introduction and more advanced courses coming up this summer. Click the links to find out more about how you can come and join us!


ACC wins at the Runnymede Civic Awards

The first Runnymede Civic awards was held on the 22nd February, where Runnymede Borough council celebrated some of the most talented, determined and extraordinary individuals and groups in Runnymede. We are proud to share the news that Addlestone Canoe Club (ACC) were honoured to receive two winner’s trophies and a highly commended certificate for the work and achievements of our members & coaches.

The first Award of the evening was for Young Sportsperson of the year, which was won by Addlestone racing team member Emily. We are so proud of Emily and the work she has put into developing herself in the sport since she came to her very first try-it day at Addlestone 7 years ago. Emily is a committed junior member of ACC and trains 5-6 times a week all year round. During 2022 she won a medal at the National Championships Sprint events in Nottingham and was selected to represent Great Britain at the Brandenburg International Regatta in Germany. She is also the youngest GB athlete to be selected to participate in the Olympic Hopes regatta. Emily also volunteers at the club in coaching our younger juniors.

Another proud moment came when ACC Head Coach Neil was highly commended in the category of ‘Coach of the year’. Neil took over as Head Coach at Addlestone Canoe Club during the pandemic and has since set a new standard when it comes to organising the training and development of coaches which has been a massive benefit to the club and its members.

Our final prize of the evening went to ACC (Chairperson) Carol and (Coach) Nick, who were presented with the winner’s award in the category ‘Changing peoples lives’. We originally nominated ACC for Club of the Year, however the judges decided that although a worthy contender in that category, Nick & Carol were genuinely changing lives and should be recognised as such. In addition to the wonderful achievements that they have accomplished with the club they also undertake many canal clean-up campaigns and are proactively working with local families, youth groups and schools to provide training on water safety and encouraging residents to get involved.

Huge congratulations to Carol, Nick, Neil, and Emily and thank you to Runnymede Borough council.

Read more about the Runnymede Civic Awards here:


Come and get involved in 2023

The dates for our Try-it and Intro days for 2023 have just been announced.

The Try-it days will be on:

  • Sunday 30th April
  • Sunday 16th July

The Intro courses will be on:

  • Sunday 21st May
  • Sunday 25th June
  • Sunday 20th August

To find out more about the Try-it days and how to sign up, click here.

To find out more about the Intro courses and how to sign up, click here.


Club Christmas paddle

On Saturday 17th December we held our annual Christmas paddle, always a great event which sees all paddlers from all our disciplines coming along for a paddle and some Christmas festivities.

This year the paddle was a letter hunt challenge – we set a trail out for paddlers to follow where they had to collect information and solve the puzzle and the first group to return the correct answer won a prize. There was also a prize for the best dressed Christmas themed paddler and for the best decorated boat.

Well done to all the people who took part. The afternoon continued with food and drinks and then former Addlestone junior paddler Ben returned to give a talk on his adventures about “Life in the Box”, all about his paddling of three of the great whitewater rivers in a year.

If you were unable to make the presentation, check out his adventure on his YouTube Channel.

Ben is now off on his adventures again this time to New Zealand. We wish him a safe journey and look forward to seeing what he gets up to next.