TWO boats built to help disabled rowers take part in the sport – and named after the Telegraph & Argus – have taken to the water for the first time.

Bradford Amateur Rowing Club, based at Hirst Weir Park, in Shipley, was given help to pay for the boats by the Gannett Foundation – the charitable arm of the newspaper’s parent company.

The double scull boats – now officially known as ‘Telegraph’ and ‘Argus’ after a naming ceremony took place – let a disabled rower and able-bodied oarsman race together, something the club says has never been done in the sport before.

This groundbreaking feat was completed for the first time last weekend at the club’s annual regatta, where two teams raced on the 650-metre course.

Celia Hickson, the club’s first female president, said: “The boats give us the chance to do mixed-ability racing by putting able bodied and disabled people in the same boat, which is a world first.

“It’s not been done in our sport before.

“We do mixed-ability rowing twice a week and regular training.

“Our mixed-ability members are full members of the club and they have equal opportunities and we are far more representative.”

The Gannett Foundation, which supports not-for-profit activities in the communities in which Gannett does business, handed over £5,000 to the rowing club in January 2017 and their work with disabled rowers has taken off.


The crews, which comprise male members Michael Brickley, Michael Kernan, Michael Grant and Michael Randall, began training in June last year.

Mr Brickley is one of the rowers helping to coach the disabled.

He said: “I come down to help on a Tuesday morning and I’m either in the boat or on the bank.

“We are teaching them how to keep it balanced and steady.

“It’s challenging with able-bodied rowers, but with mixed-ability rowers it’s a bigger challenge and it’s about getting them to do the same thing together.”

The club’s long history is associated with Sir Titus Salt, and in particular his son, Saltus Junior. His allegiance with the Bradford Amateur Rowing Club stems from 1868 when, according to the clubhouse roll of honour, he was the first president.