Canoe Club’s bell rings at awards.

By James Bennett

As a retiree, Barry Bell has a little more time on his hands.

He uses it to ensure the Shepparton Canoe Club is running smoothly.

The 10-year member and five-year president was recognised for his services recently — named volunteer of the year by Paddle Victoria.

“I was nominated last year for the same award,” he said.

“To be recognised for the work I put in feels nice.

“Our club has really good people in it. I’m the oldest of all of them.

“I know I’ve done my job when the other members can beat me in a race. Some of them have caught me a couple of times but they are still a bit off.”

Mr Bell said one of the biggest changes he had experienced at the club was the expanding range of vessels.

His favourite canoe is a TC1 he built himself out of fibreglass. It took him four days to put together.

Mr Bell said he was paddling about three times a week.

He said the Shepparton Canoe club catered for children and social paddlers.

“We run programs for children that can help develop their skills,” he said.

“The club trains at Lake Victoria every Tuesday and Thursday. The club does programs for kids on the lake that are pretty popular.

“We do more social paddles on the Goulburn River when there are environmental flows. We might do a trip from Shepparton to Toolamba; that’s for the more experienced paddlers.

“Coming up later this month is the Murray Marathon, and last Sunday we paddled on Broken Creek near Nathalia.”