British Rowing has awarded Dorney Lake Rowing Manager Hannah Vines with the Community Coach of the Year Award for 2023.

The virtual ceremony, held by the national sporting body on Thursday 25 January 2024, sought to “celebrate the people, clubs and crews from across the rowing community who deserve recognition”.

Hannah is a key contributor to Eton College’s partnership initiatives, delivering sessions to local schools and community groups. This ranges from weekly PE lessons and reward programmes, to intensive coaching for GCSE assessment. During the peak of the Summer Half (Term), Hannah and her team can be working with 200 people from local schools.

Andy Saunders, Director of Local Partnerships at Eton College, said: “Eton Partnerships are so proud of Hannah, this shines a light on all she has achieved working with the local community.”

British Rowing’s Learning, Education and Development Manager expressed similar commendation: “Hannah has shown that rowing is about so much more than just how people move a boat, but also about developing skills for life.

“She creates an environment for incredible young leaders to thrive through creativity and enjoyment in rowing, all of whom are a credit to the values of Dorney Boat Club and the wider coaching team.”

As part of Eton’s partnerships initiative, Hannah works closely with pupils from Holyport College, a school supported by Eton. Holyport’s Head of PE, Jo Lubbers, said: “Hannah and the team run an excellent programme for our KS3 students. It is a progressive, challenging, inclusive and fun programme that the students absolutely love. 

“It is the highlight of their week for some students, many of which have gone on to join clubs outside of school.” 

In addition to overseeing the Dorney Lake Schools Programme, Hannah serves as the Course Director of the Eton Dorney Rowing Courses. Structured by Eton College and Dorney Lake Boat Club, these week-long courses take place during the summer holidays and provide 40 free places to state school children.

Dorney Lake Boat Club put Hannah forward for this new award. The nomination highlighted her ‘pay it forward’ scheme, implemented after the post-Covid lockdown re-opening. This encouraged members who could afford it to round up their monthly subscriptions, helping those struggling with the financial implications of the pandemic.

In addition to her altruistic efforts, Hannah uses kit as rewards for winter training, where different milestones can earn new items of rowing equipment as a way for those under her instruction to stay motivated. She also acts as a dedicated mentor to emerging coaches at Dorney Lake, offering 1-2-1 support to guide them through the early stages of their coaching careers.

Dorney Lake Adult Club Captain Siobhan Webb, who helped put together the nomination, said: “From the input you can see how much hard work Hannah puts into the club and everyone she is working with.”

Watch Hannah as she is surprised with her award via the link here