New building opened for Clovelly Pilot Gig Club

North Devon Gazette

Clovelly Pilot Gig Club has celebrated the official opening of a new gig shed, the first time in the club’s 21-year history that it has somewhere to store and maintain its boats.Â

The building was opened by a founder of the club who helped his father and uncle build the gigs that will be housed there.Â

The project was made possible by support from Clovelly Estate, significant funding from Sport England, grants from Bideford Bridge, donations from club members and fund-raising over many years at Clovelly’s annual regatta and other events.

“Clovelly is a great place to row,” said Paul Smale, club chairman, “but our gigs have had to live on the beach which is not ideal. Local farmers have kindly loaned us barns to carry out winter repairs, but stripping a gig back to bare wood, repairing and repainting it takes months. Having our own gig shed will make a huge difference, and we’re very grateful to Clovelly Estate and to our funders for making it possible.”Â

Mark Cawsey cut the ribbon and declared the shed officially open, before club members wheeled in their gig Christine H, named after Christine Hamlyn who did so much to restore Clovelly in the 19th century. Mark helped his father Donald Cawsey and his uncle Sid Ford build the gig in Appledore twenty years ago.Â

Mark also founded the gig club at Clovelly, North Devon’s first, he said: “Twenty years on it’s great to have a gig shed. We were trying even then to get somewhere to put the boats and it’s fantastic that you’ve got this facility now, which I’m sure will be well used.

“It’s really nice to see a boat I helped my father and uncle build coming in to such a lovely place”.Â

John Keeble, who oversaw the project, stressed the team effort that had gone into it, he said: “More than 25 club members worked physically on the shed, with even more involved behind the scenes. Â

“And as well as the funding from Sport England and Bideford Bridge, everyone who’s ever been to our regatta and bought a raffle ticket or a piece of cake has helped fund this. We’re looking forward to making it an asset not just for the gig club, but for the local community as well.”