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Members of Van Mildert Boat Club, Van Mildert College and alumnus David Weatherup with the Four Winds II

On Saturday 4 November the members of Van Mildert Boat Club celebrated the dedication of their brand new boat - the Four Winds II.

Van Mildert Boat Club (VMBC) gathered to celebrate their new women’s boat - the Four Winds II - which was made possible thanks to Van Mildert alumnus David Weatherup.

The original Four Winds boat, which was also funded by David, was sadly destroyed in a fire in 2021, alongside VMBC's rowing equipment and boathouse. We are indebted to David's generosity in enabling VMBC to purchase a replacement.

VMBC have been resilient, continuing to train and race, although they have relied fully on the kindness of other boat clubs to allow them to use their equipment and storage facilities. VMBC met with David, his companion Jackie and College Principal Tom Mole, to raise a glass of prosecco, looking forward to the success the boat club will have in the new boat.

Claire Weist, current Captain of VMBC has put into words the consequence of the 2021 fire:

"The boathouse is the heart of VMBC. It's where we keep all our boats and equipment that were destroyed in the fire- now we have one outdoor rack, in another college's boat bay, where we keep our only Durham boat. Our new boats, which arrived this summer are stored 40 minutes away in Stockton-on-Tees. This makes training inconvenient, especially for novices new to the level of commitment that rowing requires.

"Despite these setbacks, VMBC has had many successes in the last two years: the women's squad has consistently placed high in head races and won or made the finals of major regattas. The smaller men's squad has also done well. 

"The boathouse was also where we had socials, such as the VMBC barbecue and awards night - and we have kept them going in new locations, but it is not the same without our own space. Once we have a new boathouse, we will have a central training hub so we can train harder, win more and rebuild the sense of community VMBC used to have."

To David: VMBC would like to convey huge gratitude for your kindness and generosity! Thanks to you Van Mildert have a new boat.