President and Vice President Profiles
Profiles for the President and Vice Presidents of British Canoeing.
Dee Paterson (President)
Dee was appointed as President in March 2021. She started out paddling with her dad, exploring Lochs/lakes in Scotland and Wales but soon venturing further on canals and rivers so joined local canoe club, Stafford & Stone. She grew up with the outdoors at heart which led to her taking any opportunity to get out on the water, volunteering through Sea Cadets & DofE too.
Over the years her drive to challenge herself using the core skills she had developed has provided opportunities to have the honour of representing her country at international level in multiple competitive disciplines, including Marathon, Freestyle and Wild Water.
During her term as British Canoeing President, Dee will be a passionate advocate around areas such as Access, Environment and Inclusion, believing that it is critical that we open up our sport to participants from all communities, to provide opportunities and support development where it is required
The President is invited to attend Board meetings but is not a member of the Board and does not have a vote.
Christine Baillie (Vice President)
Chris took up kayaking as a young teenager in the early 60’s with the West Yorkshire Canoe Club (WYCC). Paddling her Klepper Canvas folding canoe, she participated with WYCC in river trips, Slalom, White Water Racing, all both locally and further afield as well as sea surfing in Wales and the North Yorkshire coast. It was also with the WYCC she started to dabble in helping to organise Slalom events with early West Tanfield Slaloms.
Over the following years she continued general paddling while living in Aberdeen, London and Essex. A few years after the final move back to Aberdeen, Chris joined the group of volunteers running Slalom in Scotland. She served as Chair of the Scottish Canoe Association (SCA) Slalom Committee for many years and has represented Scotland on the British Canoeing Slalom Committee for the last decade. She has volunteered at all international canoe slalom events held in the UK in the last 20 years, including the London 2012 Olympics. She has run Premier and Division 1 Slalom events at Grandtully and has also helped at many lower division races throughout Scotland. Chris worked hard to get Slalom events established and running at the new Pinkston Watersports Centre.
Chris has been a member of Aberdeen Kayak club for over 40 years. Although she no longer paddles herself, Chris continues to serve on the British Canoeing Slalom Committee and helps at races throughout Scotland and at Lee Valley.
David Belbin (Vice President)
David was first introduced to canoeing at school where he paddled for fun and on white water. During University, he became active in competitive canoeing in Slalom, Canoe Polo and Wild Water Racing. He has paddled ever since primarily based at Nottingham Kayak Club.
As a qualified Chartered Accountant, David was quickly invited to participate in both Club Committees and the British Canoeing Wild Water Racing Committee. He also ran the Wild Water races on the Trent and at Holme Pierrepont for over 10 years and organised some group trips to train and race in Europe.
From 1993 onwards, he competed in C2 at international level in various Wild Water Racing World Championships and World Cups across Europe and the US. This included the experience of a home World Championships and being part of the C2 team winning a bronze medal at Bala in 1995. During this time, he also increasingly took part in Marathon racing.
David previously held the position of BCU Honorary Treasurer (the role now known as Chair of the Finance & Audit Committee) and served as a British Canoeing Board Member until 2018. David has also been a trustee of the Canoe Foundation for a number of years and continues to work actively to see the Foundation develop further to improve canoeing opportunities.
Dr Tim Brabants (Vice President)
Tim won Great Britain’s first ever canoe sprint Olympic medal when he took Bronze in Sydney 2000 and then went on to win Gold and Bronze at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. Tim represented Great Britain at four Olympic Games and during that time won four World Championship medals including a world title in 2007. Alongside his athletic career, Tim continued his medical profession and after his retirement retained his connection with British Canoeing as Chief Medical Officer before joining in January 2018 to become a technical coach with the senior sprint programme. In his two years as a coach, Tim has brought the same commitment, passion and energy to the role that made him successful as an athlete. Tim Brabants left British Canoeing at the end of 2019 after a long association with the organisation and has since moved his family to New Zealand to enjoy a new chapter in the southern hemisphere.
Roger Fox (Vice President)
Roger first became involved in canoeing in May 1971 at the age of 39 and his interest in Slalom started four years later in 1975. Roger served on the Slalom Executive Committee from 1979 until 1995. Between 1981 until 1992, Roger was the Secretary of the Slalom Committee, Vice Chair and then served as Chair. He actively supported his children Richard and Rachel in their competitive careers until they were 18.
Roger became a Section Judge and ICF Slalom Judge from 1980 and undertook the role of Technical Director at the 1995 Canoe Slalom World Championships at Holme Pierrepont in Nottingham.
He was a member and latterly Vice Chair of the former British Canoe Union (BCU) Council and a member of the Sport England Awards Panel from 1998 to 2003. Roger is the founder member of St Albans Canoe Club.
Roger now follows and supports his grandchildren in their paddling careers in Australia.
David Gent (Vice President)
David Gent first began canoeing at an early age, and then became involved with the administration of the sport whilst at university. Since leaving university in the mid 1980's, he has worked in many organisations, all connected with sport, from Further and Higher Education, Local Authorities, Private Sector, and Central Government. David has also previously served as the Director of Participation and Strategic Partnerships at the Rugby Football League (RFL) and Director of Development at British Weight Lifting.
David also sits on a number of Boards related to sport outside of canoeing which include West Yorkshire Sport and Coachwise Ltd.
David is also a Trustee of Sports Aid Yorkshire.
Malcolm Kerry (Vice President)
Malcolm learned to paddle in the Scouts where he has achieved 50 years’ experience as a voluntary leader. Since 1974, he has enjoyed paddling in many disciplines over the years, including Marathon, White Water, & Sprint Racing. He represented Northern Ireland at Sprint Racing Home Internationals in 1986 and 1988 and also represented Ireland in White Water Rafting in 1990.
Malcolm qualified as a ‘Senior Instructor- Kayak Inland’ in 1981 and coached in the Scouts and at Belfast Canoe Club, where he still actively volunteers.
Malcolm was a CANI Council member for 25 years between 1980-2015 where he undertook a series of key roles including Chair, Vice Chair, Treasurer & Vice President.
Malcolm is a retired Chartered Civil Engineer and Project Manager but still very much enjoys paddling and volunteering.
Alan Laws (Vice President)
Alan started paddling at Lincoln Canoe Club in 1960 in Marathon and then Sprint competitions.
Alan’s first British Canoeing Committee position was on the Marathon Racing Committee (MRC), appointed for the first time in 1969, serving as Chair for 28 years. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Alan was the Marathon GB Team Manager for many international events. He was also the principal organiser of the first World Marathon Championships at Holme Pierrepont in 1988.
Alan also served on the International Canoe Federation’s Marathon Committee for 34 years, stepping down in 2018. During this time, he had overseen the transformation of Marathon racing on an international level across 5 continents including the introduction of World Cups and the ICF World Championships.
Alan is a former Chair of the British Canoeing Board and is currently the Chair of the Sprint Racing Committee (SRC).
Alan is a retired Insurance Broker having worked for Commercial Union and Eagle Star insurance companies until 1980 when he joined what became Weller Russell and Laws Insurance Brokers Ltd. Alan retired in 2008. Alan is also a Founder Trustee  of the Royal Albert Dock Trust for watersports in the East End of London.
Alan still enjoys paddling but now not with such great frequency!
Jim Rossiter (Vice President)
Jim has been involved in Canoe Racing for the past 55 years. He has served in a number of key roles on the Marathon Racing Committee, including as Team Manager in 1972 to the GB Marathon Team, a role which he continued until 2008, overseeing an impressive 47 world titles in World Championships and World Cups over this period.
Jim is the co-founder and long-term Chair of Wey Kayak Club. As Chair he led the development of the site from old wooden sheds to all-purpose buildings, supported by BC and the Sports Council, leading its redevelopment into a quality facility used by paddlers from beginners to Olympic champions, as well as by a range of other local clubs and organisations, including the Samson Centre for MS, that use the Centre.
Jim has also served on the British Canoeing South East Region’s Committee for many years, including as Secretary, Treasurer and Chair and also acting as the Regional Marathon Advisor, overseeing the region’s Hasler racing competition.
Jim served as an International Technical Official on the ICF Marathon event team and as an ICF official commentator at World and European Marathon Championships. Jim retired from this role and other international duties in 2018.
Greg Smale (Vice President)
Greg has been involved in canoeing for 40 years, starting as a boy scout at the age of fourteen. With some experience in Marathon and Canoe life-saving Greg has predominantly been involved in Canoe Slalom and Canoe Polo with a highest UK ranking in Slalom of 32.
Greg represented GBR in the Canoe Polo team for 10 years and won circa 25 internationals as well as silver and bronze at the European and World championships.
Greg has been involved in coaching the GBR Women and Men to eight consecutive European and World Canoe Polo Championship Finals, achieving three Worlds and one European gold medal.
Greg has been Chief Official for two World Games and four World Championships and has held other leadership positions at various World and European championships.
He has also helped develop coaches and the national teams of Australia, Canada, Chinese Taipei, Namibia, New Zealand and Malaysia.
Between 2006 and 2014 Greg was ICF Canoe Polo Chair and Board Member. He negotiated the first non-canoeing related sponsor for the ICF. In 2016, Greg was re-elected Chair of the ICF Canoe Polo Committee and as Chair, Greg sits on the ICF Board of Directors. Greg also served on the Board of British Canoeing for many years until his retirement in 2022.
Dave Spencer (Vice President)
Dave has been involved in the sport for approximately 20 years, joining the British Canoeing Slalom Committee in 2011. He has made an amazing contribution to the sport and discipline at all levels.
Dave was the Chair of the Slalom Committee for eight years, which included being a member of the International Panel for Canoe Slalom, delivering the selection policy and selection of athletes for three Olympic Games Rio 2016, Tokyo 2020 and Paris 2024.
During this period Dave was also the organiser of the British Canoeing Canoe Slalom & Extreme Kayak Selection races, including the international ranking races held. He was also a key volunteer for World Cups and World Championships held at Lee Valley.
Dave has also supported a range of projects to help develop the sport domestically in recent times. This includes 'SimplySlalom' - the key software used at all domestic canoe slalom races.
Dave continues to support the sport in his current role as Treasurer on the Canoe Slalom committee.