As you might have guessed from our recent adverts for a new Head Coach, our current incumbent, Alexander Brown, is moving on. Alex joined us in February 2020, when coronavirus was not really a thing.

A strange time to join our club, with lots of stop/start and a big contraction and expansion of our club, but we have been really lucky to have him. In addition to keeping us physically fit through seemingly endless lockdowns, Alex also extended a lot of kindness and care to our membership, some of whom were isolated or ill. This year he took a club with reduced membership, feeling a bit down on its luck, and helped get two crews qualified for HRR and Women’s Henley in a handful of weeks.

Other mentions of note are the support he’s given across the club, focusing not only on our top crews but across the membership, including an outsize contribution to our last, possibly most epic, Learn to Row. Alex has bought Curlew huge enthusiasm, humour, relentless positivity and belief in every member. Rowers fragile self-esteem being what it is, this is no mean feat. I can’t blame him if he’s ever been frustrated with one of my laments about my glacial hands, but I remain grateful for his patience which meant this never showed.

As he looks back he can be proud of helping the club get back on its feet after a once in a lifetime black swan event, but also something less tangible; helping us become a more cohesive club and breaking down some pretty entrenched silos. As we undergo our post pandemic Renaissance we are rebuilding on a foundation laid by him. We’d be enraged by him leaving us, if the reason wasn’t (inevitably) so damn worthy. He’s moving northwards to take up a role in the NHS to make paediatric care more effective across several hospitals. In light of this we couldn’t really object. I’ve heard London Otters are in mourning though.

Our very best wishes to him on his next adventure. He has been duly honoured with some tokens of our appreciation and goodbyes this weekend. But we very much hope this is au revoir more than goodbye, and that we seen him again at future training camps and Curlew shindigs. If you missed him drop him a message @alexander_brown97

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