Three and a half long years after disaster struck, one of Marlow’s best loved institutions has risen from the ashes as members prepare to proudly unveil their new £3million HQ.
Chairman Peter Hunt said it seems a long time since he and his colleagues surveyed the wreckage after fire ripped through Marlow Rowing Club’s riverside clubhouse in 2011.
Ever since, members have rallied round to raise around £1.5million towards the new Watersports Hub, where the club have been based for over 100 years.
Since forming in1873, MRC has produced some of the finest Olympians of all time, including five-time gold medallist Sir Steve Redgrave and Katherine Grainger, Team GB’s most successful female rower.
And after a painstaking three-and-a-half years' hard work, the proud chairman showed off the state-of-the-art centre complete with a full gym, bar and boathouse.
He said: "It seems like a long time ago, an awful lot has happened in the meantime.
"We’re delighted with it. There’s obviously some things we might not do the same, but on the whole it’s very good indeed.
"We really wanted it to look like a boat house, and to fit in with our surroundings.
"It’s certainly a more imposing building, it’s more functional and definitely more efficient than before."
Thieves caused the fire in August 2011 when they dislodged a floodlight while targeting a storage shed, with the insurance payout of £400,000 leaving the club way short of the funds for a rebuild.
A £1million grant from Sport England gave the club a huge boost, but with the committee setting their heart on the clubhouse of their dreams, a drive to raise the remaining funds began.
Mr Hunt said co-ordinators Chris Lenton and John Yeatman were "fantastic" in overseeing a staggering £1.5m fundraising campaign, allowing MRC to buy the site outright.
And after a competition to find an architect, Lewis Patten took up the baton to design the iconic three-floor addition to Marlow’s stunning riverside skyline.
The new Watersports Hub will be used by partner clubs including Marlow Canoe Club, High Wycombe Triathlon Club and Henley Open Water Swimming Club.
And with funding from British Rowing, a centre of excellence for para-rowing will seek to train the next generation of Paralympic medallists to follow in the footsteps of members like Naomi Riches.
Mr Hunt said an official opening ceremony is planned for the summer, with the club still in talks to arrange a high-profile guest to formally cut the ribbon on the clubhouse.