Community spirit rang out through Marlow on Saturday as the 'new phase' of Marlow Rowing Club was celebrated at the official opening of the £2.5m Watersports Hub.
Club president Sir Steve Redgrave officially opened the state-of-the-art club house, on Marlow Bridge Lane, with Mike Spracklen, OBE, who has coached many Olympians, including Sir Steve himself to success.
And they were joined by members of the club, past and present, dignitaries and Olympians to celebrate the grand opening and the positive impact the club has had on the community since it was set up over 100 years ago.
Sir Steve reflected on the support the club has given him since he joined the sport, and praised the sheer dedication of members to keeping their rowing club alive since fire tore through the historic boathouse in 2011.
Since the blaze £1.1 million has been raised through private and corporate sponsors towards the new building, which is now the home to a whole host of water sports including para-rowing and para -canoeing.
Sir Steve said: “The support I got from the club was amazing and we wanted to give so many more young people what I have had. We have managed to expand and more people have joined since the club house was destroyed, which is thanks to the great people that serve the club.
“I am so proud of the club and what we have done to get here now. I am sure it will serve the community for years to come.”
Olympians Katherine Grainger, Zac Purchase and Naomi Riches were also attendance, together with MP for Maidenhead,Teresa May.
Mrs May praised the club for its community spirit and dedication to the re-build, saying past members would be ‘very proud’ of what has been achieved.
She said: “The last time I visited Marlow Rowing Club was after the fire. It would have been so easy for members to wonder what its future was. But the people at the club had a vision and we have seen that vision turn in to reality.
“Today is a fantastic day; Marlow Rowing club is going to go to a new phase.
“The club has made a great contribution to community life and I am sure it will go from strength to strength."
Chairman of the rowing club, John Yeatman also took the chance to hail the club, claiming it is 'much more than just a building.'
He said: “Just because we have a magnificent new club house today does not mean that Marlow Rowing Club is a completely new club. It is so much more than just a building; what makes us a good club are the people that are in it.”
The celebrations continued on Sunday at the Watersports Hub open day, which gave members of the public the opportunity to try their hand at one of the many water sports the new club has to offer.