Meet the 2023 commentators

Andrew Bryant

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.

Andrew was British Rowing National Volunteer of the Year in 2010 and was appointed a Life Member of Chester-Le-Street Club in 2012. He continues to sit on the British Rowing Facilities Panel that oversees funding applications for building and equipment.

“As a family we have incredibly fond memories of “Big Durham”, both through my children competing and as a club supporting the event. Our youngest son William and daughter Victoria both went on to row very successfully at Oxford Brookes University and eldest son Edward is currently Director of Rowing at Durham School. “

Richard Court

Dr Richard Court joined the team in 2018, along with his 39 years of rowing experience.

Richard started rowing at Nottingham Britannia reaching Senior A standard (in very old “money”). He came to Durham University in 1982, coached DU’s Women’s Boat Club and captained Grey College BC, winning Senior A IVs at Durham Regatta in ’85. 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 VIII to pennant wins at the Head of River (’90) and to success in Henley Regatta’s inaugural Temple VIIIs event.

He rowed next at St. Andrew B C, gained National Championships silver medals in 4+ (’94) and Lwt4- (’97) and represented Scotland (4+) at the ’94 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 DARC and married Dr Samantha English – fortunately an equally keen rower! Recent highlights include winning Vet IVs Head of the River, overall winners of the Boston Marathon 2015 (MasD4x-) and 2017 Masters National Champions (D4x-).

Richard is keen to continue his involvement with Durham Regatta – on the bank and on the water.

Michael Laing

Michael Laing started rowing at St. Leonard’s School and subsequently rowed or coached at Newcastle University and St. Cuthbert’s Society, University of Durham. Since 2005 he has coached at St. Leonard’s School.

Between 2012 and 2021 Michael was elected Chair of the Northern Regional Rowing Council and served on the Council of British Rowing. Michael became chair of Durham Regatta in 2022.

Charlotte Currey

Charlotte (Charley) is a second-year Modern Languages student at Grey College. She joined Durham University’s student radio station Purple Radio at the start of the 2021/22 academic year and has broadcast her show Global Tunes throughout the year.

This has brought many amazing opportunities, such as being able to interview participants of and have press access to the 2022 Eurovision Song Contest. Although she has no rowing experience she has many friends who are involved in their College Boat Clubs, and is excited to learn more about rowing.

She is incredibly excited to be returning to the commentary team for Durham Regatta 2023.

Sasha Castel-Branco

A 3rd-year student, reading Biology at Hatfield College, Sasha is a keen rower and has been the Durham College Rowing Press Officer (22/23) and the President of Hatfield College Boat Club (HCBC) 22/23.

Sasha began rowing in May 2021 and quickly fell in love with the sport. She has raced with HCBC at several notable races such as WEHoRR and Henley Women’s Regatta, as well as Durham Regatta 2022, where the Hatfield women’s 1st VIII went on to win the women’s intermediate category. She continues to “build” on her love of rowing by refurbishing a double she found in a scrap yard, and is hoping to add sculling to her collection of abilities, along with sweeping and coxing (having coxed exactly twice).

She was a student volunteer on the team at Durham Regatta 2022 and is now one of the Press Officers on the Durham Regatta Committee. She is excited to be involved in another year of the Regatta and hopes to share her enthusiasm for the sport with everyone racing and spectating.

Aaron Jackson

Dr Aaron Jackson joins the team in 2023.

Aaron is better known in rowing circles as “The Northern One” in the popular Broken Oars Podcast. The podcast launched in 2020 by Aaron and his partner-in-pod, Dr Lewin Hynes, discusses many of the thorny topics of interest to the rowing community.

James Andrews

James Andrews is taking a break from Durham Regatta in 2023 and will return in 2024.

James 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 Sunday League 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,

James started his rowing life, aged sixteen, at Plymouth ARC, before moving to the North East to go to Teesside University. As Chair of the University Rowing Club, he drove the club to take part at BUSA events and on the Tideway for the first time in a decade. After university James started his working life with Browns Boats before moving to a coaching role at Yarm School BC. Whilst at Yarm he rowed for Tees RC, competing numerous times at Durham Regatta.

He has since coached and/or rowed at Trireme Ynys Môn Rowing Club, Bangor University Boat Club, Chester-le-Street Rowing Club, Northumbria University Boat Club, Tynemouth Rowing Club and Gateshead Community Rowing Club.