This year we are nominating two volunteers for the regional AWARDS and to compete in the national Awards. One of which was presented recently.
(Sir) John McAllister
Carlisle Canoe Club
John McAllister joined Carlisle Canoe Club some ten or twelve years ago with his son Ben. Right from the outset, despite much time spent upside down, John was keen to be involved with club’s activities. Helping other newcomers getting on the water, sorting out the club’s storage, etc.
As his skilled improved he got involved with supporting coaches on the water and this led to him pursuing his UKCC L1 coaching award.
Members of the club had over the years provided safety for swimming events, this had been an ad hoc involvement, responding to request from a few providers to help. John with his usual commitment and enthusiasm got involved, ensured everyone participating had or obtained the necessary qualification, that they were covered by the necessary BC insurance and went on to brand Cumbria Swim Safety Kayakers. This was originally an offshoot to CCC, but as its reputation for has grown, paddlers around the region have come under its banner. Throughout the summer an open swim event or triathlon will be being supported, every weekend, by members of this group organised by John. As a by-product, these events create a terrific opportunity for social engagement across the Cumbrian paddling community, sharing experiences, lessons learnt, etc. during what would normally be a quiet time of the year for river paddlers. A clear effect from CCC perspective is that keeps people involved in the sport and club.
When Jim Wilson retook on the role of Club Chairman, John was asked and voted in as Vice Chair. This intention at the time was that these would be three-year appointments. Giving John an opportunity to understudy Jim and then move into the role of Chair. Sadly, this did not happen, and John found himself quite quickly Chair of CCC. Unperturbed his admirable energy and enthusiasm carried him through with the support of members of the committee and the membership in general. Constantly looking for opportunities to improve the club experience and supporting new paddlers development on the water and encouraging the utilisation of outside courses, where appropriate.
Having now moved on from the role of Chair, John is still an active member of the committee and club. Coaching twice a week during the summer, working hard to improve newcomers water confidence, running rescue sessions, etc. During this winter he has encouraged the committee to rebrand what were known as winter pool rolling sessions to improving water confidence. This seems to be having a positive effect both on attendance and allowing a natural progression into attempting learning to roll.
As you may have gathered from reading this short run down about John, his enthusiasm, energy, and commitment can be tiring to watch, but have no doubt every step he takes he leaves a better experience behind. He is now pursuing his leadership award and we look forward to the next chapter.
We awarding John an award for “Outstanding Contribution” and hope he will qualify formal National Award, when he will be treated to the lime light at a British Canoeing Awards celebration.