TEN years ago this week, the founder of Hexham Canoe Club was recognised for his outstanding contribution to paddle sport.

Paul Burgess, then 84, was presented with a trophy and a framed certificate by canoe club member Lorraine Glendenning, who passed away last year.

The British Canoe Union was due to bestow the accolade on Paul itself during its annual awards ceremony in Nottingham, but Paul couldn’t make the trip.

Speaking at the time, Lorraine said: “I also presented him with some books as a thank you from us - he stepped down as pool-side supervisor at the end of last year after 16 years in the role.”

During his time with the club, Paul inspired and helped train several new generations of canoeists, including world champion whitewater racing champion Sandra Hyslop and English nationals Anna Louise and Chloe Glendenning.

However, he didn’t actually take up the sport himself until he was in his late 60s, following a chance meeting with a canoe instructor on Tyne Green in 1994.

When he realised Hexham didn’t have a canoe club of its own - the nearest one was in Prudhoe - he arranged a public meeting and walked the streets putting up posters to advertise it.

He then negotiated with the now disbanded Tynedale Council for its premises on Tyne Green, and raised thousands of pounds in grants to buy the equipment needed to get the club on the water.

By 2010, the club was thriving, with over 100 members and two training sessions a week.

In 2005, Paul retired as club secretary.

Two years later, he was named Sports Personality of the Year by Tynedale Sports Council.

Lorraine Murray-Glendenning, who was heavily involved in Hexham Canoe Club from 2002, died aged 50 in August, after being diagnosed with a brain tumour two months earlier.

At the Tyne Tour event in November, there was a special presentation, with members of Hexham Canoe Club picking up a special award on behalf of Lorraine – the North-East region of British Canoeing’s volunteer of the year award.