Bradford on Avon Rowing Club is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year with a change of name and status to become more inclusive for its growing membership.

The BoA Rowing Club – formed in 1873 – has changed its name to Bradford on Avon Boat Club, which has become a newly-registered charity.

The club has more than 200 members and has a 50:50 split between those who enjoy rowing and those who go canoeing and kayaking.

To help its plans to provide more facilities for its growing membership, the boat club has received a £10,000 funding boost from The Hills Group Ltd in Swindon.

The money has been made available through The Landfill Communities Fund, which is administered by Hills and Community First, the Rural Community Council for Wiltshire.

It will be used to expand one of the club’s two boat houses at Barton Bridge on the River Avon to provide more storage space for its canoes, kayaks and rowing boats.

Club chairman John Short said: “The funding will help towards the expansion of a new storage area, which is needed to accommodate the additional equipment required for the growth in member numbers.

“We are hoping to complete Phase 1 of the work before the river levels rise in the Autum.

“The club has a very diverse membership, with an age range of 10 to 80-plus.

“Many just wish to exercise as part of a healthy lifestyle; others want to be more competitive and 2023 has seen success at local, national and international level.

“We are particularly pleased as a club to receive a namecheck on national TV as we had one of our members, Morgan Fice-Noyes, who is visually impaired, represent Great Britain in the European Para Games.

Morgan, 20, who rows in the PR3 Mixed Coxed Four, made his international debut at the European Rowing Championships in Bled in May and the crew took home a gold medal.

More recently, they took gold at the World Championships in Belgrade. The club is hoping the crew can replicate this success at the 2024 Para Olympics in Paris next year.

Mr Short said: “This will trigger memories for many in the town of the success of Ed McKeever winning a kayaking gold medal in the 2012 Olympics.”

The club is going from strength to strength, with members winning gold medals at The World Masters Rowing Championships in September. In addition, the canoeists won the South West Hasler Trophy for the first time since 1997.

“The club is certainly being successful and is a real community hub for the town and surrounding area.

“In addition to the large amount of money being either donated or loaned by the members, the club is currently running a number of fundraising activities.

 “We need to not only contribute to this phase of the work but also to improve changing and land training facilities.”

A ceilidh at St Margaret's Hall attracted a full house and for many townsfolk, this was their first involvement with the boat club.

Mr Short added; “In addition to the generous contribution from The Hills Group, we have also received significant financial support from Bradford on Avon Town Council, the Bradford on Avon Area Board, The Medlock Charitable Trust and The Colonel Llewellen Palmer Trust, for which we are most appreciative.”