Members and friends of the Manly Warringah Kayak Club celebrated 40 years since the club was formed at its inaugural meeting in 1983 at the North Narrabeen SLSC, with over 80 guests at the RMYC in Newport earlier in May.
40 years on and the club boasts 280 members across all ages, plus a massive history of success with 14 Olympians, numerous World Marathon, and Sprint medallists and too many Australian and NSW Champions to count. The future is looking great with the Phoenix youth program and Manly masters scooping up a bunch of medals and Australian team selection this year at both the Australian Sprint and Marathon Championships and the NZ and Oceania Sprint Championships.
The evening celebrated the club’s history with young and young at heart guests telling their stories. President Peter Grimes invited MWKC foundation President Len Turner and members Brett Worth and Mark Byrne to tell the story of the club’s beginnings.
Six MWKC life members attended: Len Turner, Bill Martin, Rob Chant, Gaye Hatfield, Brett Worth and Lawrie Kenyon. Olympian Chantel Minchin (Meek) spoke about her love of the MWKC community.
One of the highlights of the evening was Viliam Mako’s story how both he and Mario Vesely escaped from Czechoslovakia in 1988 (Soviet Bloc Country) while competing in Nottingham, England at the World Marathon Championships by shimmying down a drainpipe while the officials closed in, only to end up together at the Manly Warringah Kayak Club decades later.
It was great to see the familiar faces of the many people who attended, and everyone agreed they were looking forward to the next 40 years at MWKC.
Special thank you to Anne Lloyd Green who organised the evening.
Photos by Geoff Horsnell, Eleni Batten and Anne L.G.