Finally, one last Get To Know Me profiles a man who has given so much to the club for the last 30 years and more. He is a rower, a Dome Meisner and an all-round great guy who would help anyone out if they needed it - Mr Charlie Cunningham
Name: Charlie Cunningham
Sport: Veteran Rowing
1. When did you start playing your sport?
I started rowing in February 1999. I had to give up rugby because of a knee injury and rowing was suggested as an alternative.
2. Who was your first hero or inspiration in your sport?
First hero or inspiration was Steve Redgrave and his Olympic Gold medal winning crew.
3. What is the best thing you enjoy most about it?
The thing I most enjoy about rowing is the camaraderie. I have made many friends not just at the Belfast Boat club but in clubs across Ireland. Fitness has been a big benefit. I have also travelled widely to events all over the world
4. How often do you train or practise at the Belfast Boat Club?
When training for major events I would be rowing 3-4 times a week alongside circuit training and the dreaded ergometer.
5. What is your best achievement to date?
Have been fortunate to row in some excellent crews and have notched up many pennants, medals and tankards. My two highlights would be winning a medal at the World Masters in Vienna in 2009 and a gold medal at the British championships in 2011.
6. What are some of your goals for the next five years?
Would love to keep on rowing and aim for one more World Masters event at least.
7. Who do you have around to support and coach you?
I started rowing with Ken Morrow as coach and since then have been grateful for coaching and training over the years with Alison Gilbert, Stephen Lockwood, Paddy Kemp and more recently Jim Nimmons.
8. If failure was not an option what would you love to achieve in your sport?
To keep on rowing!
9. What are some of your other favourite sports or hobbies?
Tennis and skiing. My main hobby at the moment is building model aircraft.(Ideal for lockdown).
10. Why would you recommend your sport to anyone else reading this?
Rowing is a great team sport. From the fitness aspect you use all your major muscle groups and it certainly gets your heart and lungs working.. As Veteran rowers we train hard, row hard and enjoy ourselves!
I think I joined the Belfast Boat Club in 1980, maybe before. I was invited to the summer BBQ and Fete which took place on court 5. I liked the whole set up and as a keen tennis player in those days, I signed up.
I got roped into the committee fairly quickly, starting off with the entertainments sub-committee. I was also responsible for Squash court bookings which kept me very busy as squash was at its peak. I then did my stint as Honorary Treasurer, though it was really Steve Adamson who did the accounting side, but I had to look after the fruit machines, which were hugely profitable for the club. There were meters for the squash courts in those days, and for the snooker room lights. I spent a lot of time counting and bagging 10p coins! Fortunately there was a machine to help.
I'm not sure of specific dates but it wasn't long before I was elected as Honorary Manager Grounds. It was at this time that I became involved with the the dome, and worked with Des Pedlow who eventually inveigled me into becoming his successor as Dome Meister 2. Once I had done my time as Hon Mgr Grounds, I decided I had concluded my share of Committee and Council work and just focused on the domes. Last year I eventually passed on the reins to Chris Sanlon (DM3) though I’m still around to help should he need me.