Hastings Rowing Club future under threat

The future of the oldest established sporting club in Hastings is very much under threat.

Hastings Rowing Club - which was established way back in 1868 - is hanging on by its fingertips due to a lack of members.

Hastings Rowing Club president Paul Knight at the club's boathouse under the seafront (SUS-150122-164702002)

Hastings Rowing Club president Paul Knight at the club's boathouse under the seafront (SUS-150122-164702002)

Club president Paul Knight said: “To be honest things haven’t been looking good for a while and it’s getting to the point where it can’t carry on much longer. It’s now a pure fight for survival and it wouldn’t take much for it to go. Once it’s gone, it won’t come back.

“In essence we’ve got about seven or eight people that are active members currently, although that may pick up prior to the season. We don’t need masses of people; we just need another 10 or 12 to hopefully ensure the continuation of the rowing club. It’s younger people we’re after to come in.”

In a bid to address its falling membership, the club is opening its doors to all paddle boarders and kayakers who may be interested in what it calls ideal waterfront storage.

Hastings Rowing Club has also started opening its gym area to clubs or individuals interested in getting fit and given that its members have been running on the shingle for years, the club is running beach fit style classes.

“We are opening up to try and keep this unique and historic sporting club going,” continued Knight. “We’re getting to the point now where we’re trying to explore every avenue we can.

“We’re trying to make it as friendly and open as possible. If people want to take up rowing they can. It’s a fantastic sport and it’s a sport not many people get a chance to do.”

The club again won’t be hosting its own regatta this year - neighbouring Bexhill Rowing Club will hold it on Hastings’ behalf - but Hastings hope to attend a couple of regattas during the Coast Amateur Rowing Association season.

“It’s got so much history,” added Knight, who has been with Hastings Rowing Club since 1976 and has also run in all 30 Hastings Half Marathons to date. “Hundreds of people have gone through that club.”

Hastings Rowing Club’s base is located under the seafront promenade opposite Robertson Street. Knight says the club continues to receive good support from Hastings Borough Council.

Any previous members or people interested in any of the above should contact Paul Knight via email to knightgt7@hotmail.co.uk