Like any thriving club, Pengwern is run on goodwill and great people. Here’s some of ours

Richard ‘Digger’ Barnes

Our recently elected captain, Richard ‘Digger’ Barnes joined the club to follow his daughter’s progress when she first learnt to row 10 years ago. Starting to help where he could, Digger explains that he ‘spent so much time at the club, that I thought I might as well have a go at this rowing thing!’ And while his daughter has moved away, Digger has become a permanent and precious member of the club, using his skills for boat maintenance to keep the club rowing smoothly, while regularly taking to the water in his Masters 4+. Contact Digger at

Dean Bishton

Sharing the vice-captaincy with Kailey, Dean is a well-established member of Pengwern, and is as much a fan of the river’s beauty and picture-perfect setting as anything else. A committed coach, he’s chosen this quote from George Yeoman Pocock to explain the appeal of the role; “Rowing is perhaps the toughest of sports. Once the race starts, there are no time-outs, no substitutions. It calls upon the limits of human endurance. The coach must therefore impart the secrets of the special kind of endurance that comes from mind, heart, and body”.

Aside from rowing, he has a beautifully chaotic family with eight children, enjoys walking, and a couple of times a year likes to indulge in a long distance event such as the Long Mynd Hike.

Kailey-Jane Firmin

Sharing the vice-captaincy with Dean, Kailey first joined the club in May 2017 through the learn to row course – ‘It wasn’t very long before I was completely hooked!’ she explains. ‘I became a coach September 2018 and spent a session being lucky enough to cox a men’s 4+ that is now responsible for most of my pots. I really enjoy sculling in 1x and 2x and am always up for heading out on the water at every opportunity.’ As part of her role, Kailey heads up the Learn To Row courses and loves to see beginners take to the water for the first time. She is also fully trained in British Sign Language. Contact Kailey at


Pengwern’s committee is run by dedicated members who, between them, cover all areas of the club. From the maintenance of our beautiful clubhouse to our new pledge to improve inclusivity and diversity, they meet regularly to plan ahead, review what’s gone before, and keep the club ship-shape! To contact the committee, please email our secretary