THE founder of a local rowing club hopes a recent funding boost will get more people into the sport while also helping to build a tribute to the late wife of the Bishop of Worcester.

Richard Wood, the founder and a director with Holt Heath-based Zaznak Inland and Coastal Rowing Organisation, said he was delighted to discover the business had been awarded almost £10,000 from the Big Lottery Fund's Awards for All scheme.

The boost of £9,977 will allow the group to purchase the materials to build two new boats for the club to use.

"We were absolutely delighted to learn we had been awarded this funding, it is like a dream come true," Mr Wood said.

"It means we can continue building up our business and getting more people involved. We believe we are the first British coastal rowing club for inland communities. We have about 30 members at the moment but we need more boats, and boats can be expensive."

This money will help with the building of the inaugural boat with a completion date set for late June. The St Ayles Skiff has already been named Zan Denise after the wife of the Bishop of Worcester, John Inge, who died last year of cancer, and the boat will be ceremonially launched by the Bishop.

Mr Wood set up the company with two others last year, with the aim being to get more people involved in rowing the coast.

"It is great fun but we want to show people that it is accessible to everyone. Some people may be put off rowing thinking it is very hard, or that you have to train hard for it. But you don't," he added.

"We row all over the country. We are based at the Top Barn Activity Centre, and there we use a three mile stretch of the River Severn to row on. But we do travel all around, to places such as Dartmouth and Bristol.

"There is 19,000 miles of coastline in Britain, all there for us to row on. Our group is really about adventure, recreation and also competition."

Top Barn Farm has also donated £1,600 to kickstart the initiative.

Zaznak was one of 103 projects across the West Midlands to receive a share of £944,564 from the Big Lottery Fund.

Lyn Cole, Big Lottery Fund deputy director, said: "We are currently offering applicants support and guidance on applying for Awards For All funding and top tips on presenting your project.

"Web seminars are running every week and last from 30 minutes to an hour. This is a good opportunity to ask questions through a live chat."

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