Gold medal for Oddfellows oarsman

Ollie Varley, a member from the Leeds District, looks set for a promising career as an international athlete.

Above: Ollie (second right) and his crew celebrate their gold medal winning success at the U23 World Championships, Rotterdam 2016.

The 21-year-old, who is currently studying Animal Science at Newcastle University, recently represented Great Britain at the Under-23 World Rowing Championships in Rotterdam.

Ollie was part of a four-man crew that went on to win a gold medal in the fiercely fought lightweight quadruple sculls race.

Ollie joined the Oddfellows in 2004. He was inspired to do so by his family, many of whom have first-hand experience of the benefits of membership. His stepdad, stepbrothers and mother are all Oddfellows and also part of the Leeds District.

Ollie has been a keen oarsman for even longer. He began rowing aged 11 and really began to shine in his sixth form years when he won a silver medal at the National Junior Championships.

Speaking of his achievements, Ollie said: “Winning a gold at the World Rowing Championship felt amazing and also well-deserved.

“As a crew, we’d spent such a long summer together and had invested so much, both mentally and physically, into our training. The challenge now is repeating our success and we know there’s no room for complacency. I think the 2017 championships could be even harder.”