Ruth Holdway was a very active member of this club for most of her life. Tragically she was killed at the age of 29 in a walking accident in Maderia in 2009.
She and her brother Rob both joined the club and immediately became fully involved, displaying the famous “Holdway” gusto. Ruth rose through the slalom ranks and reached div 1 where she competed with her usual determination. However Ruth was not destined to reach premier rankings, it was in other areas that she was to shine so brightly.
On Ruth’s return from York University, gaining a degree in History, she was employed as a community coach. She established links with the local schools in Stone and was instrumental in enthusing generations of paddlers in our sport. Part of her job remit was to establish a new club based at Trentham Lake. This she did and was the driving force in procuring the joint canoeing/rowing centre. Ruth had a real empathy with everyone she coached and had just been appointed as the British Canoeing’s Disability Officer when she was killed.
The Ruth Holdway Memorial Trophy is based on a necklace Ruth used to wear, a Māori fish hook design, the “hei matau” which symbolises safety over water. The engraving and base were done by Ruth’s father Paul.
At the age of 23 Ruth was diagnosed with hodgkin's lymphoma, during treatment she was banned from paddling the dirty Trent but still remained active turning to climbing and other activities. Subsequently she organised a 24hr canoe polo match which raised £15,000 for cancer charities.
Writing was one of her passions and she published her Grandfather’s memoirs (he was chief designer at Spode). Ruth became the club newsletter editor and served on the club committee for many years.
Money from Ruth’s estate was very kindly donated by the Holdway family to the club house building fund ensuring her spirit lives on.
Scan of the Sentinel article (December 3rd 2009), one of the many tributes to Ruth that appeared in the local and national press