Rowing Project provided new skills for Eyemouth pupils

Costal Rowing project for Berwickshire
Costal Rowing project for Berwickshire

THEY’RE now back at school for the start of a new term, but last year’s S1 pupils at Eyemouth High are still celebrating the culmination of a project earlier in the summer which attracted the attention of long-running TV show ‘Panorama’.

As part of Curriculum for Excellence, the group of pupils took part in the Asdan Activities Awards Course throughout the school year.

This saw them participate in a number of activities covering everything from golf to horticulture.

But probably the most memorable activity for all involved was the Scottish Coastal Rowing Project.

In the last few years, ‘The Berwickshire News’ has followed the progress of the project, which was the brainchild of a dedicated team of locals who wanted to give Eyemouth its very own rowing boat, so the town could compete against other Scottish communities.

The two main contributors, former harbour master Johnny Johnston and Bruce Thomson, were keen for youngsters to get involved and got in touch with the high school to get the ball rolling.

The project involved building a boat from scratch and to take part in the project, the school had to raise £3000.

No easy task, but they managed to reach their funding goal last summer, thanks to help from sponsors James Aberdein, Scottish Borders Education Partnership, Scottish Borders Outdoor Education Department, Eyemouth High School Parent Council, Jim Cook, D.R. Collin and Son, Teal and Mackerill Ltd, Eyemouth League of Friends, Ahlstrom, Fisherman’s Mutual Association, Eyemouth Masons, Burgons, Cheviot Rentals, Churches Hotel, Coldingham Gala Committee, W.L. Collin (Bing), R. and K. Drysdale and British Energy.

Members of the public were also encouraged to support the project by giving their time each week. The long list of volunteers included Moira Thomson, Fiona MacAllister, Andy Wishart, Bobby Patterson, Charlie Crowe, Robin Collin, Martin Bunker, Alan Dougal, Tim Grimshaw, Ian Waddell, Ewan Frater, Paula D’Agrosa and Caroline Lathe.

Leading their team of workers, both Johnny and Bruce had a lot of patience having to deal with all the many changing faces of staff and pupils of varying abilities throughout the year.

Their calm, supportive approach ensured the pupils developed many new skills to produce a well constructed rowing boat, which was christened ‘Seabreeeze’ and unveiled in June.

This was a great achievement not only for the pupils involved but also for the community as the boat is one of the first to be completed by school pupils in Scotland.

The intergenerational project was so successful that ‘Panorama’ filmed the pupils working on the project and the programme was seen by many TV viewers.