About Our Club
Friends of Allonby is Liverpool's canoe club. We are an 'open' canoe club with interests in most aspects of recreational and competitive paddling. However, many of our members also have a keen interest in canoe polo and in 1998 our Governing Body, the British Canoe Union, awarded us "Top Performance Club" status for Canoe Polo, one of only two such awards ever to have been made. The BCU has now revised its "Top Club" award to align more closely with Sport England's "Clubmark" scheme, and Friends of Allonby is now an accredited TOP CLUB.
Since 1992 the Club has run its annual Merseyside Canoe Polo International initially in Dukes Dock then, for the last three years, at its own purpose built canoe polo and slalom facility in Queens Dock which is arguably the best permanent canoe polo venue in the UK. This annual Tournament is one of the biggest held in the UK and consistently attracts dozens of polo teams from throughout the UK and Ireland, together with a sprinkling of teams from continental Europe.
In 2004 Friends of Allonby hosted the very successful 5th European Canoe Polo Club Championships, an elite competition run under the regulations of the European Canoe Association, to which only the top men's and women's teams in each European country are invited.
Each year Club members provide safety cover for a number of Charity Swims that take place across the River Mersey and in Salthouse Dock. We have also provided safety cover for competitors taking part in the Liverpool Triathlon.
At the City of Liverpool's Sports Awards ceremony in 2006, Friends of Allonby received the coveted "Club of the Year" trophy in recognition of its major contribution to the sporting life of the city, and its regional, national and international reputation in canoe polo. Our senior Ladies Polo Team are the current European Club Champions, BCU Division 1 Champions and BCU National Champions, and four members of this team are also current World Champions having won gold medals with the Great Britain Ladies Team at the 2008 World Championships held in Edmonton, Canada. (See our Canoe Polo pages for further information).
A clear demonstration that our Club is not just interested in canoe polo occurred in 2008 when we organised two very competitive Kayak Sprint events for the World Firefighters Games, which were hosted by the Merseyside Fire and Rescue Services. This major event was the second biggest sporting competition held anywhere in the world during 2009, after the Beijing Olympic Games. In addition, some years ago the Club used to run a very popular annual Div. 3 Slalom on the River Tryweryn (near Bala), and more recently in successive years we organised three "Paddlefest Liverpool" all-day events for local children which provided lots of fun and opportunities to try out a wide variety of paddlesport activities.
The Club has a wide range of boats (in excess of 80) and paddling equipment for members to use at Club Sessions and/or to borrow for Club trips.
Frequent kayaking/canoeing day or weekend trips on lakes, rivers and the sea are organised by the Club, or individual members. These trips are open to all Club members, depending on the paddlers' experience and ability.
About Our Name
As a visitor to our Website you may wonder why our Canoe Club has such a strange name. The story goes as follows. Once upon a time, before there was a canoe club in Liverpool, a small group of Merseyside canoeing enthusiasts used to organise weekend trips to go paddling on rivers or the sea. One of their regular canoeing venues was the Novice/Division 4 Slalom on the River Eden at Carlisle. Their accommodation for the weekend was at a caravan site at Allonby which is a village on the Cumbrian coastline.
As you may know, slalom competitions were normally divided into a team event run on Saturday, and an individual competition run on Sunday. Teams consisted of three people and they were asked to submit a team name for the start list. Our intrepid trio chose the name "Friends of Allonby".
On returning home they thought that as canoeing was becoming more popular there should be an organisation set up locally so that interested people could get together. At the end of 1981 our Canoe Club was formed in Liverpool by a small group of friends. At that time there were no formal coaching sessions, no Club premises, and no Club equipment, but people could get together to discuss ideas and organise weekend trips for river and sea canoeing. It seemed appropriate to keep the name "Friends of Allonby", so they did.
From these small beginnings the Club had grown to over 270 members during the 2010 Membership Year.