It is with great sadness that the Club announces the passing of James Smythe on Monday 18th April 2022 after a short second battle with cancer.
James started his paddling career in the mid 1980’s at Wey Kayak Club, finishing his first Devizes to Westminster 125 Mile Canoe Race (DW) with them in junior K2 in 1987. He then went to university and raced for Royal Lemington Spa before moving to Nottingham. By this time he was a Men’s A sprinter, Div 1 marathon paddler, and represented Great Britain at two World Cups in Hungary in 1994 and South Africa in 1995, as well as competing for GB at other races on the international circuit. In 1995 he also took the bronze at the National Marathon Championships in Senior K1.
He then took a break and moved to France before returning and joining Leaside in 2001 and latterly Bishops Stortford in 2016. In his very first race in a Bishops Stortford vest he took silver in Veteran 35-44 K2 at the National Marathon Championships before winning the Bill Sparks trophy for the fastest veteran K2 at the Hasler Finals later that same year.
- Bronze – Senior K1 – National Marathon Championships
- 6 x Veteran – National Marathon Championships medalist, 4 of them Gold
- 1st Veteran K2 at Hasler Finals
- Waterside Series Veteran K2 winner and A & C course record holder (with the C record still standing today)
- 3 x DW finisher including 2nd overall and 1st Veteran K2
- GB Marathon Team member for several years