SIR STEVE Redgrave has hailed the progress on Marlow Rowing Club’s new headquarters as "a light at the end of the tunnel" as the fundraising total nears the £2.5million mark.

The Olympic hero and club President said he feels the club's spirits have held up well since the fire which destroyed the building in August 2011.

As well as a £1million grant from Sports England, donors have raised £2.37million to date for the first phase of the new watersports hub on the banks of the Thames.

And the recent star-studded Presidents Dinner at the Crowne Plaza raised £45,000 towards the rebuilding, which has reached a landmark with the completion of the steel structure.

Sir Steve said: "After a very successful President's Dinner and spring seems to be here with the sun shining, the new Watersports Hub is now taking shape and the light at the end of the tunnel of the last two and a half years starting with the trauma of the fire, can finally be seen.

"March is the month that everything seems to be happening. The concrete over-site was laid and within days the steel sub-frame was erected; very exciting and it won't be long before we are back rowing out from the club.

"The club's spirits I feel have held up well since the fire. There is certainly a buzz now. We can physically see something happening."

After lengthy problems with asbestos and the flooding of the building site in February, which delayed building by 6 weeks, Marlow Rowing Club is now making steady progress.

The structural steelwork has been completed and work is about to commence on concreting the first and second floor slabs.

Currently, the forecast is for the building to be watertight at the beginning of June, with the new clubhouse set to open in the autumn.

Lynne Moran, Press Officer added, "The members and committee are finally able to see the club come to shape which is very exciting.

"The unexpected issues have added considerable costs to the project of £100K but we are very close to raising all the money to complete the building with £130,000 left to raise for phase one being the cost to build the clubhouse."

The club will soon be focusing on phase two of the mammoth project, which includes internal work such as a new kitchen, bar and state-of-the-art gym, which will include equipment for disabled rowers.

MRC’s next event is a corporate hospitality day at Henley Royal Regatta on July 3, with tickets available for purchase via the club website shortly.

Marlow Mayor Suzanne Brown named the club as one of her nominated charities for her first mayoral term, with money from next week’s Mayor’s Charity Golf Day going towards the clubhouse project.