STAGING British Rowing Awards: Rising Star of the Year winner - British Rowing

British Rowing Awards: Rising Star of the Year winner

Congratulations to Chloe Kelly from Blue Star Club in Yorkshire – winner of our National Rising Star Award!

The Rising Star of the Year award is for young volunteers who have made an exceptional contribution to their sport and the wider community. All five regional winners are a credit to their clubs and community but there can only be one overall award winner. So congratulations to Chloe Kelly from Blue Star Club in Yorkshire – who receives our National Rising Star Award!

A talented athlete, Chloe was nominated because of her “gold-medal standard” volunteering at Leeds Rowing Club. In 2019, As well as coaching younger juniors, Chloe ran her own schools indoor rowing club which competed at the Row Leeds Indoor Rowing Championships, where she also volunteered.


Described as “calm and cool under pressure, especially when dealing with lots of juniors and things not going to plan with boats”, her citation adds that she “has a real passion for making a difference”.

“Many juniors come and go in clubs as is the way with our sport, but Chloe has made an impact on the development of junior rowing at Leeds Rowing Club. Without her help over the past two years it’s very unlikely we would have the talented young athletes we have now in the junior squad and the strength in depth we can now put out.

“Whichever club Chloe rows for in the future, they will benefit from her experience and wise head greatly. She is a real rising star in our sport and one to watch for the future.”

Rising Star of the Year regional winners 

In addition to Chloe, there were four other young volunteers nominated by their respective region. These regional winners are listed below, together with highlights from their citations. Congratulations to them all – and to Ben Newell who was Highly Commended by the British Rowing Awards Panel.

Ben Newell (North West)

Ben learned to row while at school and was club captain for three years, which saw him become gym training coach to the younger rowers.

He gained his launch licence while in the sixth form and maintains our fleet of boat engines.

Last year he passed his Level 2 Club Coach qualification and his J16 boys’ squad have really improved thanks to his encouragement and knowledge. He has time for everyone, regardless of ability, and is greatly respected by his squad.

At only 20-years-old, his maturity, knowledge and loyalty to the club is so much appreciated by everyone and we feel that winning this award would go towards showing him how thankful we are for his time and presence.

David Squirrell (Northern)

David has made a significant contribution to the running of Durham College Rowing (DCR) over his time there. Additionally, in his role as Collingwood College Boat Club (CCBC) as men’s captain, and then president, his organisation has helped drive the clubs to new heights. Crews had the opportunity to race at events such as BUCS Regatta, and received their highest ever placement at the Head of the River.

All the while David has kept alive a great atmosphere within the squad. As safety officer, he’s successfully encouraged clubs to take safety seriously.

But most importantly, he’s brought together, what was once a disparate group of boat clubs, and helped form a community.  Town and gown, university and college, David has bridged the gap between all and is still striving to close it now.

He will be sorely missed when he graduates.

Miles Watson (Thames)

Following his own junior rowing career at Bewl Bridge Rowing Club, Miles has also coached there since the age of 18. He has coached numerous juniors through to represent GB, but he has also made rowing fun and accessible for everyone.

Now 26-years-old, Miles balances a successful corporate business while giving so much of his time to over 50 juniors who are coached five days a week.

Miles is always enthusiastic and dedicated, including everyone in the vibrant atmosphere that he has built up over the years. It is unusual for a young person to give up so much of their time purely for the love of the sport!

James Chew (West)

At Falmouth we’ve always been good at the competitive rowing, however, the social end of the club has eluded us until James took it over.

An organisational wizard, James has built up a ‘club rowing’ section at Falmouth for people who want to get out on the water, but who don’t want to race on the circuit. They go out regularly and James helps them transition within the club.

The range of people James has regularly coming down is impressive – and includes all ages from long-retired rowers to new mums and more vulnerable adults. It’s a real credit to his hard work and dedication.

Congratulations to all our winners – and thank you for all your hard work!

Thanks to the British Rowing Awards Panel – Rosie Mayglothling, Richard Dennis and Richard Phelps – for their time selecting our Rising Star of the Year awards. 

We are celebrating the winners of the British Rowing Awards 2020 all the way up until 31 December so please keep and eye out for other winners #BRAwards2020