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15/07/2011: Canoe club powered by electricity sponsorship

An Oldham canoe club will soon be making waves throughout Europe, thanks to a sponsorship organised by its coach and local resident, Tony McCabe.

Tony is a coach at the Oldham Canoe Club in his free time but by day he works at Electricity North West, maintaining currents of a different kind in his role as a telemetry systems support manager.

The Canoe Club, which meets weekly at various lakes and rivers across the UK, has more than 50 members who were keen, but unable, to take part in adventurous white water kayaking, due to a lack of funding for the necessary training required.

After approaching his employer, Tony secured sponsorship from Electricity North West, the company which connects more than 2.4 million homes and businesses in the region to the National Grid.

The sponsorship means that Tony and another coach, Jim Mills, are now fully trained in white water kayaking and can take the members – the eldest of whom is in his sixties – on more adventurous trips abroad. The next trip they are planning is to Briancon in France.

Tony says, “The four months of coaching was intensive but necessary to ensure Jim and I could apply our existing skills to oversee the club members in white water kayaking. A lot of the elements in the coaching process transfer directly back to my role at work, as quick, calm responses are part of the job as well as that of a coach.”

Electricity North West is one of six Distribution Network Operators in the UK. Paul Bircham, customer strategy director for Electricity North West, said: “We support a number of charities and volunteer groups in the region through our employees and were very happy to help fund the training for Oldham canoe club. We will be watching their progress as they make a splash further afield.”

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