Rowing in the 1960s

In the 1960s and 1970s I was involved in competitive rowing, firstly coxing as a young lad, mostly at Llandaff Rowing Club near Cardiff, and then rowing and sculling at Tiffin School in Kingston-upon-Thames, Stratford-upon-Avon Boat Club and then Loughbrough University.

I have very few pictures of these times except the odd newspaper cutting when we happened to win (rarely). However, a few days ago I came across two colour pictures taken in 1965. They both relate to events held on river navigations used by canal boats. The first is a shot of the Stratford coxed four which won at a few Midland regattas and eventually reached Junior-Senior status. I am seen rowing at my usual place in the bows. At two is Barry Burke, three is Boris Holdsworth and the stroke is Richard Lawrence. The cox is out of shot. The photograph was taken at Leicester Quarts, an autumn event held over the straight mile on the River Soar in the middle of Leicester. I remember that we didn't do too well that day. We are wearing tracksuit tops and are obviously making our way to the start.

Leicester Quarts Event, River Soar 1965 - Stratford Boat Club Crew

For reference, here is a picture of the same area when we passed that way forty years later on Albert. Our friend Edward Winter is steering and taking a phone call!

River Soar 2005 - NB Albert

The second image is of a joint Stratford and Evesham crew that in the same year (1965) entered the Boston Marathon. It's basically the same crew as above but Richard Lawrence has been replaced at stroke by a rower from Evesham whose name I can't recall. The Boston Marathon covers the 31 miles from Lincoln to Boston. This was not the only time I took part in this gruelling event. I took part again in the early 1970s when I rowed in a coxless four from Loughborough University. The picture below was labelled "only five miles to go". We had plenty of blisters on our hands and other places when we finished! You may just make out that there are fisherman lining the opposite bank. As we approached Boston I remember that our cox kept asking them how far it was to the end of the race. They gave very misleading answers!

Boston Marathon, 1965 - Stratford/Evesham coxed four