Addlestone Canoe Club, based on Burcott Gardens, just off the New Haw Road in Addlestone held its Annual Awards Evening last week. The evening recognises members of the canoe club who have made outstanding progress during the year. The Deputy Mayor of Runnymede Councillor Alan Alderson was at the awards evening to present the prizes.
“I must admit that I didn’t even know Addlestone Canoe Club was here.” Said The Duputy Mayor, “but, I am really impressed with all of the achievements, Addlestone Canoe Club is clearly a very active club.”
“This year the Club Committee decided to award a very special member; Mike Bott with an Outstanding Achievement Award.” Explained Carol Reeves, Chairman of Addlestone Canoe Club. Every year an event takes place over the Easter weekend called the Devizes to Westminster Canoe Race, Starting in Devizes in, Wiltshire and finishing at Westminster Bridge, in Central London, the ‘DW’, as it is popularly known, challenges crews to paddle 125 miles non-stop, mostly through the night and to negotiate 74 portages en route.
Plenty tough enough for a young man to attempt, you might think, but Mike is 74 years old!
Mike, not only completed the event, with his partner Adrian Clark, aged 49, but they finished it in a very respectable 24 hours and 32 minutes; a time which many a young paddler would be envious of.”
The DW used to be dominated by the crews from the Services and indeed it was over 50 years ago, whilst serving in the army that Mike first completed the race
“I first entered the race in 1963 as a young man but it’s quite different doing it again at 73!” said Mike. “I came down to Addlestone Canoe Club and everyone was so helpful. They lent us a boat and made us feel so welcome when we arrived. Adrian and I trained really hard this year and we had a great support crew who followed us down the race. I have done the race a few other times too and it’s always tough. Back in 2011 I remember it was a really cold Easter and our drinking bottles froze. Another year it was so hot my partner and I got sun burnt.”
Mike still maintains a rigorous training regime, two runs a week, one gym session and a couple of boat sessions and he still works as a physio, which has been his life-long passion.
So what’s next for Mike? “I quite fancy the cycling from Lands End to John O’Groats, if my body will let me!”