After a few one-off experiences of kayaking I finally committed to paddlesport at the age of 32! I took to the sea on a sit on top kayak with a friend, paddling around the North Cornish coastline where I saw seals and caught mackerel- I was hooked (if you excuse the pun!) During the past 11 years I have paddled kayak, canoe and experienced much of the diversity paddlesport has to offer. From sea kayaking in the Everglades, Florida and around South Island, New Zealand, canoeing and wild camping on some beautiful lochs in Scotland, to whitewater kayaking in Nepal I’ve had some of the most amazing experiences. I also took the opportunity to step onto the coaching ladder and took great delight in witnessing the joy and sense of achievement other people experienced from paddling. Along with coaching, I became passionate about how we moved forward as a sport and was honoured to be nominated as Chair of the West Midlands Regional Development Team. As chair I enjoy working with fellow volunteers and paddlers to create and support the delivery of a regional plan aligned to our British Canoeing strategy. I also sit on the British Canoeing Board of Directors where I strive to represent the voice of the paddler. I’m passionate about paddling and will always promote the sport as an opportunity that offers so much freedom, adventure and friendship to anyone who might wish to have a go.
I discovered kayaking at around the age of twenty, some thirty plus years ago. The desire to get in a boat and go paddling is as strong for me now as it has been through all those years, although about fifteen years ago I branched out and found that canoeing was almost as much fun as being in a kayak – well, almost! My real passion is definitely white water kayaking, and I have been to a fair few countries in Europe and Asia in my time – the ones with the biggest mountains normally have the biggest rivers. I became a paddlesport coach in 1995 and started by helping fellow club members take their first tentative steps in this addictive sport of ours. In 2007, I became the West Midlands Regional Coaching Representative, giving me the humbling opportunity to help others progress their own coaching / leadership pathway. Coaching has been very much at the centre of my paddling for the last twenty or so years and I’ve loved every minute of it.
I have been paddling since I was about 20, firstly being involved with my university canoe club. I started out playing a lot of polo, and doing some white water kayaking, but as I developed as a paddler and coach I realised there was plenty of fun to be had in other boats too! Nowadays, I canoe most often but can still often be found in a white water kayak, sea kayak, or on a stand-up paddleboard too. As much as I love paddling, I get most enjoyment from helping others to improve, and introducing them to the joys of coaching.
I have been paddling for more than 30 years in mainly open canoe and have paddled substantially in Scotland on wilderness trips and a lot of the major rivers in England. I am currently Birmingham & Black Country area coaching rep, a position I have held for many years. Prior to this position, I was regional touring officer for about 20 years until the position was phased out.
I first learned to canoe at teacher training college in Belfast which led me to take a job teaching at a Local Education Authority centre. Following that, I joined PGL which took me to the south of France. While there, I became interested in Coach Education and have being running coaching courses ever since. I have worked for the youth service in Hereford as a freelance coach, and now work for Keys Childcare making a difference to children and young people who have complex needs, using the great outdoors as a tool for recovery.
I have been a paddler for so many years that I lose count! I am the local coaching representative for Staffordshire and invest much of my time in coach and paddler development within the West Midlands Region. I also commit to my own canoe club in Burton. I canoe, kayak, stand-up paddleboard and Bell Boat. I am a Trainer and Assessor for Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award. My other passions are walking and motor biking. I can be available for paddlesport courses, advice or guidance. Keep them paddles wet!
As a Cornishman I have always been fascinated by the sea and enjoyed kayaking from an early age, even building my own plywood kayak to paddle and surf around the coast and Cornish estuaries. I have organised, led and participated in expeditions all around the UK, Norway, Gibraltar, Cyprus and Greenland. I have been most fortunate to have an enthusiastic friend who has accompanied me on many rivers of the last ten years (Thames, Severn, Wye, Trent, Ouse, Lee and Wey) and we plan to paddle many more. I have also been privileged to support a fantastic Cadet canoeing expedition down the Tugela River in South Africa. I now live in Shropshire, in Ironbridge, and am the Area Coaching Representative for Shropshire. I thoroughly enjoy my coaching, leading and passing on my knowledge to others, especially to those curious about the sea.