THE chairman of Marlow Rowing Club said he has been overwhelmed by the support it has received since a fire tore through its base.

Mayor of Marlow Cllr Suzanne Brown announced on Saturday that her appeal had raised a whooping £20,424 in the past year which will be split between the rowing club and Marlow Age Concern.

In collecting the club’s share, Peter Hunt said he had been taken aback by the backing the club had received from Marlovians after a huge blaze ripped through its headquarters in August 2011.

He told dignitaries on Saturday: “I would like to thank everyone for the way we’ve been treated by the town. I’ve been absolutely overwhelmed by the support.

“The rowing club and Marlow are synonymous and I think rowing in Marlow has a great future with the new building.

“It’s very different to the shed we started off in – although it is a shed, to me I didn’t really notice it was just the rowing club.

“But the new building is a complete change and we are immensely grateful to everyone who has supported us and to Suzanne who made it happen.”

Mayor Brown appeared to have a tear in her eye after Age Concern’s John Chapman praised her fundraising efforts and work for Marlow.

He said: “This lady has no side; she’s the same to all of us – young or old.

“Many people who worked in this town, councillors and volunteers, you could often see the colour of their flag behind them.

“But you never see that with Suzanne, which perhaps doesn’t always go down well when it comes to towing the party line.

“She is absolutely marvellous and I know everyone from the various organisations here today count her as a friend.”

Mayor Brown announced at the annual Mayor’s Reception on Saturday that she would be supporting Marlow Opportunities Playgroup and the Thames Valley Air Ambulance over the coming 12 months.

She explained: “The playgroup helps children with special needs, autism and cerebral palsy, they’ve been going for forty years and provide one-to-one care.

“They need £35,000 a year to keep it running and if they want to look after more children, they need more money than that. It’s very important, I think.

“The Air Ambulance is always around for big events like this.

"And for me, they helped my postwoman Sue when she was knocked down in a car accident by Esso garage six months ago. I think they deserve the support.”