Two new faces will be joining the commentary team for this year’s Regatta, Michael Laing and Richard Court bringing the complement up to five.
Michael Laing started rowing at St. Leonard’s School and subsequently rowed or coached at Newcastle University and St. Cuthbert’s Society. Since 2005 he has coached at St. Leonard’s School. In 2012 Michael was elected as Chair of the Northern Regional Rowing Council and has served on the Council of British Rowing since then.
Richard Court started rowing at Nottingham Britannia before coming to Durham University in 1982, coached DU’s Women’s Boat Club and captained Grey College BC, winning Senior Fours at Durham Regatta in 1985. After graduating, Richard worked as a boat builder with Carl Douglas Racing Shells and rowed at Thames Rowing Club. He joined Imperial College BC during his MSc and stroked the 2nd Eight to pennant wins at the Head of River (1990) and to success in Henley Regatta’s inaugural Temple Eights event.
He rowed next at St. Andrew BC, gaining National Championships silver medals in 4+ (1994) and Lwt4- (1997), and represented Scotland (4+) at the 1994 Commonwealth Championships. During his PhD at Cambridge, he stroked St. Catharine’s to May Bumps “Blades”.
Richard returned to the north-east in 2003. Now well into the Masters category, he joined Durham ARC and married Dr Samantha English – fortunately an equally keen rower! Recent highlights include winning Vet Fours Head of the River, overall winners of the Boston Marathon in 2015 (MasD4x-) and 2017 Masters National Champions (D4x-).
The two join Keith Yates, James Andrews and Andrew Bryant who continue in the commentary role from last year.
Keith Yates has been commentating at Durham Regatta for over forty years. He started rowing as a cox at Durham Johnston School in 1951 and was Durham ARC’s first crew cox from 1957 until 1962, during which period the crew were North Eastern Champions for 5 years and won the Grand at Durham Regatta 5 times. Keith now lives in Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire.
James Andrews started in a coaching position working with clubs in the North of the Region before moving on to be a very active and successful Area Participation Manager for the Northern Region. Many of the innovations such as the Explore Series for recreational rowers and the Great Tyne Row are the result of his enthusiasm. More recently he has been promoted to Head of Pathways at British Rowing,
Andrew Bryant became involved in rowing as a parent whose children rowed at Chester-le-Street Rowing Club in the late 1990s. Within a short period he became Treasurer and then Secretary for seven years.
Andrew represented the club on the Northern Rowing Council and was Chairman from 2006 to 2011, when work took him to the Midlands.