As a student at Durham University in the early 1970s, especially at a college, whose rear gates were often lapped with the ripples from boats moving at speed along the River Wear, you could not avoid being involved with rowing in some way.
Being on the riverside, cheering the college boats during the University Regatta, was obligatory, but my more leisurely time and memories are steering a punt up river with the expectation of pub lunch, with friends on a warm summer day; and the day I fell in the water.
Wednesday afternoons were often interrupted with a knock on my door with a request that I cox, a four or occasionally an eight man boat. The only qualification I had for this role, was my weight, barely 125 lbs at the time, having a room on the same corridor as the captain, and my increasing experience. It was only the reserve crew who ever asked, when their regular cox, had not turned up, so I was only ever the choice of last resort. But with the offer a free pint or two in the college bar, from those who were to become good friends for many years afterwards, I would usually agree …. reluctantly of course !
During my short time as a stand-in cox, I learned much about rowing and the immense determination and teamwork which is required to get the boat, to the finishing line
Forty years later, I therefore regarded it as a privilege to be involved with rowing again , albeit in the fringes, and invited by Newton Investments, to supply them with flags and banners, for their forthcoming Oxford/Cambridge Women’s Boat Race in April 2012. Newton are a major City investment bank, owned by BMY Mellon New York who are to become the main sponsor the the Oxford/ Cambridge Mens Race in 2013.
The Women’s Crews also competed at other events later in the year, principally Henley Regatta , in June where some of the photos were taken.