Members of Evesham Rowing Club have begun cleaning up after their boathouse was completely flooded by the swollen River Avon some 11 days ago.
The club, which also has squash and tennis facilities, has been significantly damaged. At the time the disaster struck it was in the very final stages of a 2-year, £500,000 lottery-funded redevelopment.
“We realised by midday that Friday there would be significant flooding. Unfortunately our local roads were already becoming impassable and only a few members could reach the club to help protect the club’s property,” said Mark Dewdney, a deputy chairman of the club. “The flood was worse than Easter 1998 and the club has suffered a severe blow.”
The river reached its peak on the afternoon of Saturday 21 July, with floodwater rising to the ceiling of the club’s boathouse. Four boat bays, the weight room, ergometer room, three squash courts and the members’ bar were completely swamped.
The devastation left boats and equipment crushed and, as the waters receded, covered in a foul-smelling slime. The outdoor tennis courts – three of which were finished just three weeks ago – were left covered in sludge several inches thick.
Water levels at the club, eight inches higher than in the 1998 floods, were the highest in the club’s 144-year history.
Evesham Rowing Club chairman John Lomas said: “This comes as a bitter blow. We had started to see club membership grow following the lottery work and other major improvements made by club volunteers. While we are still getting to grips with the task ahead I am sure with the support of our members and of the wider sporting community, Evesham Rowing Club will recover from this setback.”
Immediate health and safety issues have yet to fully be overcome. Club members plan to continue coordinated clean-up efforts over the coming days; several firms have donated protective clothing and other equipment to help with this process. The club will begin the mammoth task of rebuilding a flood-damaged facility for the second time in nine years.
All former members and friends of Evesham Rowing Club are urged to get in contact with the club so they can be kept abreast of development efforts – contact