STAGING The tight-knit crew from Pengwern Boat Club - British Rowing

The tight-knit crew from Pengwern Boat Club

Pengwern rower Ann Roberts decided to recreate her club crew to boost morale during lockdown


The Pengwern BC women’s masters E have developed a close bond since taking up rowing three years ago, with friendships blossoming around a shared passion for their new-found sport.

During the last head season, they started rowing as an eight, but all except one of their races was cancelled due to bad weather. Back in November, they managed to get in a race at Liverpool’s Head of the Float – and even won! Unfortunately, this was followed by more flooding and then the Covid-19 pandemic arrived, changing everything.


One of the crew, Ann Roberts has managed to combine her two passions during the lockdown. A skilled knitter, she took on a special project – over to Ann for more details!

The project took about six weeks, knitting every spare moment

“When the lockdown came into force, I needed a project and, as we weren’t allowed to meet or row, I thought it would cheer us all up.

“I love knitting and I just had this vision of creating our crew in wool and photographing them outside the club.

“The project took about six weeks, knitting every spare moment. I kept it a secret from the crew.  There are 10 of us so we have substitutes when people are on holiday etc and we row in an eight.

“When I revealed what I had been doing, I had an overwhelmingly positive reaction from both crew and the rest of the club.

“All the crew were delighted with their woolly selves and they, and other members of the club, said they recognised everybody!

“Typical reactions were ‘I can’t stop smiling,’ ‘It’s such a morale boost,’ which was the general intention.  We also got comments such as ‘We are a tight knit crew,’ ‘Knit one, purl one row 8’.

“Pictured in the woolly crew from left to right are: Di (stroke), Kate, Anne, Jules, Jo, Emma, Lorna, Julie, Ann (me) and, in high-vis, Sylvia (bow). After 10 figures I didn’t have the energy to do our coaches/coxes but may do in the future.

All the crew were delighted with their woolly selves

“At the moment, the woolly wonders live in my sewing room at home, but I will be taking them to our first meeting when we’re allowed to get together and each crew member will be presented with their image!

“As a crew, we have kept in regular contact via WhatsApp and Zoom and have even erged together remotely and done some circuit training.

“It has been very hard not getting on the water, especially as floods preceded the lockdown and most of our head races were cancelled.

“Recently, four of us managed to get out in single sculls and were so pleased to be on the river again.

“We can’t wait to get back to our normal routine and are keeping our spirits up in the meantime.”