A NEW rowing boat has been unveiled at a Monmouth school in honour of one of the sport’s legendary figures.

The John W Hartland was christened on the banks of the River Wye at Monmouth School for Boys’ Rowing Club.

Mr Hartland was master-in-charge of rowing at the boys’ school for 30 years. He also formed a rowing club for the town’s girls’ school in 1990.

He also enjoyed success coaching at the national level and helped more than 30 of the schools’ rowers go on to represent Great Britain.

His wife Ann christened the boat in front of the Hartland family and a large crowd of well-wishers. Mr Hartland was himself unable to attend due to ill health.

After the ceremony, Mr Hartland’s son Nick said: “Apart from his family, rowing in Monmouth on this beautiful River Wye was the love of dad’s life, with his role both at the school, and encouraged by the then head Robert Glover, his involvement with the town club over the river, including the building of the new clubhouse in 1969.

“There were some big achievements along the way, a first 8s appearance and race win at Henley Royal Regatta at the end of the 1960s, a Henley semi-final in the 1980s, National Schools and National Championship medals, including a first ever National Schools Championship title, and Home Countries wins with Wales.”

He added: “We are touched that Dad is being remembered in this way.

“I know the school’s rowers will do this fantastic Empacher shell proud and that my dad, with his name on the bows, will be there in spirit, rowing every single stroke.”

Mr Hartland led the Wales rowing team to the 1986 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and was chairman of Welsh Rowing for many years, and helped more than 30 Monmouth rowers go on to win GB caps, including Olympic medallists Colin Moynihan and Charlie Wiggin, double Olympic gold medal coach Robin Williams, and his own son, two-time world medallist, James Hartland.

The ceremony was followed by a dinner to mark the school rowing club’s 150th anniversary, with Mr Wiggin a special guest.