ROWERS say the time is ripe to invest in the sport in Wallingford to create a lasting legacy of the Olympic Games.

Town resident Zac Purchase, 26, won a silver medal in the men’s lightweight double sculls final at Eton Dorney last Saturday.

Katie Greves, 29, also from Wallingford, and Lindsey Maguire, 30, of Wallingford Rowing Club, came fifth in the women’s eight race.

In all, Britons won four golds, two silvers, and three bronze medals.

The 300-strong Thames Street club is now hoping the sport’s peak in popularity will help it reach its £300,000 appeal target to build a new gym.

Katharine Tuite, a spokesman for Wallingford Rowing Club, said: “Wallingford should really be a rowing destination as we have one of the best stretches of water in the country.

“Wallingford has done incredibly well but it would be good to have the facilities to support future athletes as well as athletes who train there at the moment.”

Club captain Caroline Greves, said: “It’s great to have a Wallingford member representing GB at the Olympics and hopefully it will inspire not just existing members but also others who now want to try the sport.”

Ken Lester, 65, who took part in the Rome Olympics in 1960 as a rowing cox aged just 13, said the sport was on a high.

He explained: “You only have to watch some of these finals and the success they were getting, it’s terrific.”

But he said the club needed the facilities to accommodate the increasing popularity of the sport.

Town mayor Ros Lester, Mr Lester’s wife and member of the club, said: “They are an absolute inspiration to our youngsters.”

She said the sport was getting bigger, with more women taking part, adding: “It’s definitely a growing sport.”

But she said the club needed cash to build the new gym, adding: “We are desperately trying to raise money and get the planning sorted.

“It’s falling down, it’s being held together with string. We want a nice new one.”

The rowing club is offering ‘Learn to Row’ taster courses for 18 to 30-year-olds this month. Contact Christy Job at