6) Meet the Coaches

In alphabetical order

John Cowie aka ‘Mr C’

John CowieJohn is our Club Treasurer and is a BCU Level 3 Coach in both Kayak and Canoe and an assessor of Foundation Safety & Rescue Training.  John started canoeing at age 40, (a few years ago now!) after watching the Matlock Raft Race on Boxing Day.

“Once I got ‘hooked’ it prompted me to obtain the skills to get the local Boys Brigade companies involved in the sport”.

In recent years John has preferred open boating to kayak as a personal choice.  “I enjoy everything about the sport and wish I had started in my teenage years in the way new paddlers can today.  My best paddling experiences have often included our Club President and Founder Norman Crowson; the most notable being on my first river trip in an open canoe down the River Swale when a rather large tree ‘jumped out’ and ‘ate’ my boat swallowing it underneath a bough and hanging on to it and trying not to let go.  Hey ho, happy days too many to name!  Having spent more than 30 years in the fire service using water at work and enjoying water in leisure seemed to be a logical pairing!”

Simon Cozens

Simon CozensSimon has been paddling since 2002. He’s a coach UKCC level 2 and enjoys assisting both the senior coaches and the youngsters who come along the club. Enjoys River Running and Playboating.

Has been on some fantastic river trips over the years with the Tryweryn, the Leven, the Washburn and the Tees being some of the most memorable.

Geoff Hagin

Geoff HaginGeoff’s dubious claim to fame within the club is that he taught John Cowie “back in the day”.  Geoff has recently joined the club after a break from paddling, and wanted to get back into the sport to support the club whilst supporting his children as they also progress though the sport.  Geoff is a BCU Level 3 kayak coach, and whilst he enjoyed lots of slalom paddling in his younger days, he is now taking an interest in open canoeing.

Pat Key

Pat KeyPat is the Club Chairman and a BCU Level 2 Coach. Her main interest is open canoeing, particularly in the Scottish wilderness. Her canoe skills also come in useful on Thursday nights at Matlock, where she holds the record for wiping out the greatest number of kayakers off a way at the same time.

Sam Lomas

Sam LomasSam started paddling in autumn 2007 after a family holiday beside the river Wye. He is a UKCC Level 1 coach and 4 star whitewater kayak leader.. He has a love of freestyle and is often to be found at Holme Pierrepoint practicing his moves. He has represented the club at the National Youth Freestyle series. His most memorable moments are pulling his first front loop and also paddling Back Barrow Bridge on the river Leven on the club weekend October 2010.

Steve Lomas

Steve LomasSteve has been paddling since autumn 2007 when he spent a weeks holiday at Symonds Yat watching paddlers on the rapids having great fun. The most eventful trip he has been on was the infamous  club trip on the river Greta November 2009 (ask him about it!). He went back to finish it the following year. He is a qualified UKCC Level 2 coach. Enjoys paddling kayaks and canoes.

Gary Noble

Gary NobleGary is a UKCC Level 1 coach and also holds the 4 Leader awards in both whitewater kayak and open canoe. Gary enjoys a wide range of paddling activities, but is most often seen accompanying Ichthus on open canoe touring trips.

Andy ‘Padge’ Pagett

Andy PagettPadge is a UKCC level 1 coach, who joined the club in 2011 after becoming hooked whilst completing his 1 star award through Scouts.  His favourite aspect of the sport is whitewater kayaking, and although he won’t admit it, he does enjoy open canoeing.   Padge is also the Club Secretary, Assistant Webmaster, Facebook admin, assists John organising trips, and hasn’t learned to say “no” when someone says “can you just….”

Philip Spackman

Philip SpackmanPhilip is the Club’s senior coach and coaching officer, and looks after the training and qualification needs of the club’s members whilst also being on hand to organise, run and support some of our more adventurous river trips.



Chris Tye

Chris TyeChris has been paddling since he was 14. He’s a UKCC Level 1 coach and 4 star whitewater kayak leader and can be regularly found down at Matlock assisting the youngsters with perfecting their paddle strokes or assisting one of the senior coaches.  He also has two sons who attend the club.

His favourite paddling experience to date was the DBCCC Cumbria weekend in Nov 2007, where he successfully paddled the Greta on the Saturday and then the Duddon on the Sunday.

Caren Taylor



Caren has been canoeing and kayaking since the age of 10. As a teenager she has enjoyed slalom and competed in division 2. Now she prefer trips with an element of expedition especially if she gets to rough camp or cook over a fire.
Caren has been a Level 2 coach since 2005 working particularly closely with the Girl Guides for several years.
She enjoys encouraging those who are not naturally drawn to the sport to have a go.



One thought on “6) Meet the Coaches

  1. Hi there I’m Nathan Lowe I live in Wingerworth Chesterfield and I would like to give canoeing a try. Could someone contact me with dates and costs please.


    Nathan Lowe

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