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Great River Race 2016 – A message from our Chairman

OMG you guys excelled yourselves last weekend in the 2016 GRR both on and off the water, including the best dressed competition!

On the water, some record breaking times were achieved. Please spare a thought for the Albatross who were again beaten by the Weddle and a skerry comprising of part time barmaids from our favorite pub in Twickenham – the white swan. Well done to Elaine and her crew of ladies dressed in their native Indian outfits.

At the end of the race, some of you remained at Ham in the beer tent and how we whooped and hollered as our very own British Oarways presented themselves on stage for the best dressed awards. Frankly, it was a walk over, no one came close, and as the more mature of us know for a fact, the clap-ometer never lies! Well done guys – it was special.

Back at the club and grafting hard, we had a wonderful team working tirelessly to ensure that everyone has a terrific GRR experience. These are fantastic people that give up their time so generously. Who? Well, let me mention Steve Kemsley. Steve simply pulls the whole thing together for your club. Including and far from exclusively, getting us all organised and onto the two double decker buses at Richmond.

Paul Bowen, this man just makes things happen and I cannot speak highly enough of his efforts. Through Paul, we benefit from the use of beer pumps and chillers, BBQ cookers, Gazebo’s, the list goes on. Paul spent 14 hours, probably nearer 15, at the club making it all happen for our benefit.
Then we have the troops. We rely on these guys to dice the kilos of onions for the burgers, to keep the Loo’s clean, to man the bar, to flip the burgers and serve us all. David S, Jane, Paul S, Foxy, Stevie Rac, Nik the gin, Michelle, we are so very grateful to you.

On Sunday morning a group of volunteers helped me get the club ship shape again and believe me there was some work to be done – trust me, we know how to party! These guys from memory were Maxine D, Julie F, Philippa, Mark McD, Nicola H, Nick B and Paul B.

I think that was the team! Thank you all!

As your privileged Chairman, it is really important to me that these Ladies and Gents get the credit and recognition they deserve. Next time you see them please pat them on the back and say thank you – they will really appreciate it!

To close. I mentioned this on Saturday night and I am happy to repeat myself here. The RBBC is being talked about in a very positive way amongst the fixed seat rowing fraternity along the Thames and beyond. This includes British Rowing themselves. I am delighted to add that BR have told us that if any club in the country is thinking about starting a fixed seat club, go and speak to the guys at the RBBC.

That makes me so very proud of this club and simply confirms the excellent work being achieved by you all and your committee. A club member told me that what we had going was “magical”. Hard to disagree isn’t it?

Looking forward to rowing with you all in the 30th GRR next year!

Mark L.


See our photos from the Great River Race 2016 | Watch a video of the race