Local teacher is canoe champion

FIRST: Margaret Chapman on the podium at the British Canoe Marathon Championship on the River Thames at Pangbourne.
FIRST: Margaret Chapman on the podium at the British Canoe Marathon Championship on the River Thames at Pangbourne.

LOCAL schoolteacher Margaret Chapman leads an exciting double life.

The 52-year-old is also a top international canoeist who has established herself as one of the best in her age group worldwide.

At the weekend she was in action on the river Thames for the British Canoe Marathon Championships at Pangbourne, racing over 13 kilometres including two portages (carrying the canoe overland). Margaret won her category with a time of one hour 11 minutes and 16 seconds.

Margaret followed Saturday’s triumph by entering the following day’s doubles kayaking event, her partner being Ursula Mackintosh from Stirling. With the field being widened to include younger competitors (over 44 rather than over 49) this was a challenging prospect but the pair took top honours in a dramatic sprint finish.

Margaret’s husband Brian, himself a decorated paddler, said: “It’s great for Margaret to have done this, she has been into canoeing since she was a teenager. The next competition is the World Masters in Denmark next month - September 18 and 19 - and she will be taking on top level international competitors.”

Margaret, who lives in Binniehill Road, will be well known to many local parents as she teaches in two local primary schools, dividing her time between learning support at Eastfield Primary and the Woodlands Primary nursery class.

Margaret does her canoe training on the Forth and Clyde Canal at Auchinstarry. She and Ursula are finishing off their preparation for the Masters and look forward to taking on many of the sport’s top names.