Student in the Spotlight: David Cunningham

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Love Sport? Chair of a Society? Or just getting involved with something new?We're going to be picking one DMU student each week as our ‘Student in the Spotlight’, to celebrate their successes, achievements and discover a bit more about them and what they're up to!

This week we’re joined by David ‘Slybacon’ Cunningham, a second-year student studying Forensic Science, and the Chair and founder of Demon Canoe Club. Let’s find out a bit about him!

Tell us a little bit about your sporting background and how you got involved with canoeing.
My Dad was a keen paddler and was a major influence in getting me involved with canoeing from an early age. He used to take me to the local reservoir, where we hired boats and paddled. This is where I learnt the fundamentals of canoeing. I loved it and have been canoeing for ten years now in various disciplines, one of them being white water. Within the last ten years I have raised money for charity, one of those being a canoe-a-thon (19 miles paddling from Leamington to Warwick). I have also been a Youth Representative at my home club, Rugby Canoe Club. I got to have a say on how the club is run and working with young canoeists.

David in action on a slalom course.

So when you came to DMU, why did you decide to set up a canoe club?
In my first year there wasn’t a club at DMU and I didn’t know how I could go about setting one up. I looked into other clubs in the local area and found that University of Leicester had one, so I decided to join and had a lot of fun. This year I got in contact with the Sports Development Office, found out what I needed, and went from there!

How have things progressed since you initially set up Demon Canoe Club?
Initially, I struggled to get Demon Canoe Club off the ground. Freshers Fair helped massively and there was lots of interest. Fast forward a few months, we now have around 12 regular members and two coaches. We have had outdoor sessions at Leicester Outdoor Pursuits Centre and a regular indoor training slot. We have arranged a meeting to discuss what we can do to progress further.

Any stand out personal/team successes since you have been at DMU?
We have a large number of beginners and they have progressed quickly and within the first few weeks want to progress on to more advanced techniques. In three months, the club has gone from nothing into an established club, which I am very proud of.

Why should aspiring canoeists join Demon Canoe Club?
We have a massive community spirit and will do anything to help each other progress further. Demon Canoe Club can assure our members will have a lot of fun, especially if you are looking for a sense of adventure whilst at University.

What are your future plans for Demon Canoe Club?
We want to increase the amount of members participating in canoeing and build links with other sports clubs and societies. Financial investment into the club would be great, so we can purchase our own equipment.

Thanks David, and good luck from all at DSU!

To find out more about sports at DSU, click here.


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