MBE for Coningsby canoeing champion

After more than 60 years of championing the benefits of canoeing, a VIP in the paddlign world has been named a Member of the British Empire for his efforts.

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Coningsby’s Alan Laws, Vice President of the British Canoeing Association, has been awarded an MBE in the New Year’s Honours List for services to canoeing.

Mr Laws, a retired insurance broker, said it was a “great honour” to have his efforts recognised in this way, and has paid tribute to all others who have helped him over the years.

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He said: “My real thanks go to the members of the Lincoln Canoe Club as it was there when I was a wee lad that it all began.

“The members of British Canoeing who forced the issue of international Marathon Racing in 1976, David Green, Jim Rossiter and Colin Gray in particular, made it possible for me to become a part of the development of that discipline with many years on the ICF Marathon Committee.

“This work gave me the means to meet so many good people all round the world which really should have been thanks enough,”

Mr Laws started paddling at Lincoln Canoe Club in 1960 in Marathon, and then Sprint competitions.

His first British Canoeing Committee position was on the Marathon Racing Committee (MRC) in 1969, where he served as chairman for 28 years.

Throughout the 1970s and 80s, Alan was the Marathon GB Team Manager for many international events, and was also the principal organiser of the first World Marathon Championships at Holme Pierrepont, near Nottingham, in 1988.

Mr Laws also served on the International Canoe Federation’s Marathon Committee for 34 years, stepping down in 2018.

During this time, he oversaw the transformation of Marathon racing on an international level across five continents, including the introduction of World Cups and the ICF World Championships.

Mr Laws is a former chairman of the British Canoeing Board and is currently the chairman of the Sprint Racing Committee (SRC), as well as a Founder Trustee of the Royal Albert Dock Trust for watersports in the East End of London.