Aberfan Canoe Club was founded in October 1974 by John Turner who was a guiding light through the years and in 1993 was elected President. Sadly John passed away in 1999. Since formation, Aberfan Canoe Club has been serving the Aberfan community and surrounding district for nearly 40 years.
We partake in various disciplines of kayaking, which has taken club members all over the country and the world. From 124 mile long marathon races, to family friendly river trips, we provide a wide variety of activities suitable for a wide range of abilities. We also field several polo teams and have provided Great Britain’s National Teams with more than 20 athletes and coaches. Please see the disciplines tab for more information.
How it all started – by John Turner (written in 1996)
“In the summer of 1974 I started making enquiries about the possibility of starting canoeing in one of the swimming pools in the Merthyr Borough. I was eventually introduced to Malcolm Jones from Aberfan, who was at the time, Youth Officer of the Ynysowen Youth Club based in” the Aberfan and Merthyr Vale Community Centre. It was agreed that I start canoeing in the Aberfan Swimming Pool under Malcolm as part of his activities. The Youth Clun supplied two fiberglass canoes and by begging and borrowing we acquired four KW 7’s on permanent lone – other equipment followed later. Our first session was around the 3rd week of October 1974. Our first trip outside the pool was a Saturday and Sunday on the river Wye with a Land Rover and Trailer borrowed from a friendly source. The pool was hired to us on Friday evenings from 7pm – 9pm for the princely sum of £2 per night payable to the Aberfan Disaster Committee. The pool attendant used to leave us the keys to lock up ourselves and very often we would continue until 10.30pm. After approximately 8 years the Youth Club folded and we were left to continue ourselves. When the Club was 2 weeks old I was approached by the Youth Officer to take under my wing a young lad who wanted to take canoeing as part of his Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. He was from Pontypridd and his parents would bring him along every Friday and was, I believe the first member living outside the Merthyr Borough. He went on to achieve his Duke of Edinburgh Gold and personally received it from the Duke of Edinburgh at Buckingham Palace. That young lad is Tony (Monty) Griffiths who is now a Senior Instructor and Local Coaching Officer. Since those days the club has come a long way in its 22 years, has paddled many miles, and now boasts approximately 60 members both young and a bit older.”
Pick a decade and travel back in time to see what we got up to!