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150 years of UCLBC: an evening of history, dining and celebration on Saturday 1st March

 

What a wonderful occasion! More photos coming soon! If you attended our celebration, and would like to leave a message about the dinner, please complete the form below or email us at secretary@benthamboatclub.org.

 

Long distance messages of goodwill for the 150th Anniversary Dinner

 

From Australia: Dick Stuart, 74-78

 

It has been an immense privilege to be invited to write a brief “insider’s account” of the Jeff Easton era at UC&H BC during the 1970s.  They were intense and exciting times.  We all gave our utmost at the time, yet are still realizing, decades later, just how much lasting satisfaction we gained in return.  You only get one chance at being young.  We seized our chance with both hands, aimed high, pushed our limits and made the most of what we had.

 

Individuals grow old, but the UC Boat Club is self-renewing and permanently young.  Tonight, from the heat and dust of the Western Australian Summer, I am thinking of today’s UC rowers ploughing the cold and wet Winter miles on the Tideway with their sights set on Henley.  This is your opportunity.  Seize it like we did and aim high.  The Easton era showed how much could be achieved in a short time – and we still need that UC Henley win.  As Jeff’s coaching colleague Ken Wootton used to say: “Give it some of that old UC welly!”

 

From Seattle: George Goll, 71-75

 

Dear Mr President and distinguished guests, it is indeed a pleasure to write a few words on this special occasion. My era at the UC&HBC, as it was called then, began in 1971 when I became disenchanted with cycling and looked for another sport. I saw an ad in the UCL daily newspaper(?) looking to recruit people for the rowing club. The indoor rowing tank on the top floor of the union building was an ideal place to try this new sport. Sitting in a boat on moving water is quite different, as we all know, and the initial learning curve was very steep, but thanks to many good coaches it became easier. I loved the camaraderie of being part of an eight man team and enjoyed the bi-weekly outings to Chiswick. Most of these trips were made in a bus rented specially for the rowing club and on most occasions were driven by a fellow named Charlie, who was a very amusing, eloquent person who's dishevelled appearance, long moustache and ancient bus allowed for many funny comments. He also drove us to races for many years and became part of our team. I think I learned most of my technique from Jeff Easton, who is simply one of rowing's best coaches in my opinion. We are still in touch on a regular basis and we exchange many stories from the past especially about our teammates. I hope he is here tonight. We did much of our indoor training at the gym at UL under the guidance of Charlie White, who was the head indoor coach for the UL team. My rowing days with UC&H were very memorable: I particularly enjoyed winning races and I remember well the UL end of season races in the winter and racing along the Thames near Chiswick in the dark, trying to avoid all manner of objects. The Head of the River races will be remembered as gruelling and I seem to recall our best finish was 10th under Jeff's excellent tutelage. The Hospital Bumps races also bring back many fond memories of broken bows!! If I recall correctly UCH made it to the top in 1975.

 

I am proud to say that the excellent grounding at UC&H led me on to greater things and after trying out at UL I joined the National Lightweight Squad which started out at Leander in its infancy. Alas, I left in my hay day and moved to Husky territory here in Seattle. The University of Washington Huskies who rowed against the GB National Squad 8 at HRR in the Grand last summer have enjoyed a very rich rowing heritage since the 1930's.

 

My sincerest best wishes for the future of the club, the members that run it and to the new teams coming up and especially to the teammates that sat in the boat with me.