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Hidden gem provides an oar-some activity

By Joseph Masi | Grassroots | Published:

If you dream of relaxing strolls, connecting with nature or simply finding a new hobby to keep you active, the answer could be hiding right before your eyes.

Wolverhampton Canoe Club, which is situated in Oxley Moor Road, may have been founded back in 1956, but it remains one of the cities hidden gems.

With direct access to the Staffordshire and Worcestershire canal, the friendly group welcomes people who want to take to the water for a whole host of reasons.

Whether you fancy taking a gentle paddle to relax and connect with nature, or you want to compete against others on courses designed to test – everyone is catered for.

The club is run by volunteers who are led by chairwoman Sharon Tarbuck, whose father ..., was one of the club’s founder members.

And she believes the organisation provides the perfect environment for anyone looking to take up a new hobby.

“Wolverhampton Canoe Club is a family friendly club that is open to absolutely everyone,” Mrs Tarbuck said.

“The Staffordshire and Worcestershire canal is beautiful and it’s so relaxing when you are out there having a casual paddle, there is no hustle or bustle.

“Canoeing can be very therapeutic. It allows you to connect with wildlife and also keeps you fit.

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“But we also have members who want to progress and who compete in races and slaloms.

“Whatever you want to do you can do it, everything is at your own pace but we are an encompassing club and there will be plenty of people happy to help.”

While some people may be anxious about stepping into a canoe and onto the water, Mrs Tarbuck says it doesn’t take long to pick up the skills you need.

“Some people pick it up very quickly, others take a while,” she said.

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“But we can go through it in baby steps.

“We run 10 week courses and the first session is as simple as learning to sit in the boat. We then introduce you to strokes and other basic things.

“Our youngest member is seven-years-old, our oldest is 78-years-old and we recently had someone join us who is registered blind.

“For a lot of members, canoeing is about getting out there and exploring at a nice pace of life. Everyone can progress at their own rate.”

Open for four sessions a week, the club has junior and adult teams that have tasted success in regional competitions.

Members also hold their own annual race between Ironbridge and Bridgenorth on the River Severn.

The overall aim of the club though is for people to relax and enjoy themselves.

“I’d definitely recommend people take up canoeing.” Mrs Tarbuck added.

“It’s very enjoyable and Wolverhampton is a club that is run by volunteers and is family friendly with parents bringing down their children and having a great time on the water.

“It’s very safe. We like people to go off in groups of three. And membership wise we are doing very well, we have new people wanting to get involved on a weekly basis.

“For safety, you can’t join until you have done a course. But after that you can paddle away.

“If anyone is interested in joining give us a call because there are so many benefits to joining.”

For more information on Wolverhampton Canoe Club visit http://www.wolverhamptoncanoeclub.co.uk/ or call 07506903500.

Joseph Masi

By Joseph Masi
Football MMPJ - @josephmasi_star

Football journalist for the Express & Star covering Walsall FC.

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