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"Tubby Bryant's" boat-naming party

Over 50 familiar faces and familiar names (among them, former Club Captains, Chairmen and Presidents) gathered at the Club on 6 October to christen an important piece of Club history and to salute three very important Club members. 

The evening, hosted by "The Irregulars", was organised to name the former Club Tub Pair -- built at Eton College in the late 1800s, used regularly by the Club for coaching in the 1920s and '30s, rescued from the scrap-heap back in the 1960s and generously donated back to the club to raise over £3,000 for the Gym Appeal by LRC member Owen "Tubby" Bryant. It was also an evening - long in the planning - to celebrate the contributions of Iain Laurenson, John Pearson and Rob van Mesdag to "The Irregulars" and to the Club over many years.

The Long Room was looking at its best - beautifully decked out by Olivia, Tom and the team. (They even managed an easyJet-style "turn-around" following a wedding lunch in the club, just before the dinner.) Our regular Irregulars chef, Serena Cottrell, did a fantastic job in the face of rather overwhelming numbers for dinner to serve up her usual delicious fare.

The first half of the evening was dedicated to naming "Tubby Bryant" and wishing her a new lease of life on the river with her new caretakers - a group of around 25 LRC members. We were delighted that Owen, aka "Tubby", was at the dinner along with his wife, Sally, Colin and Barbara Kester, Chris Sprague, Simon Rippon and club archivist Julian Ebsworth.

The second half of the evening was dedicated to three extraordinary club members and Irregular stalwarts -- Iain Laurenson (right), John Pearson (below) and Rob van Mesdag (left) -- who have been long-serving, loyal and generous members of the club and are a huge inspiration to the current Irregulars. Eddie Markes gave a speech and presented framed photographs of the trio (together with bow steer John Auber) taken on a recent outing on the Tideway with Hammersmith Bridge in the background. The photograph was taken and kindly donated by club member and photographer Mark Ruscoe who was driven in a launch by Dylan Wing.  Jacqui Grosch spoke from the heart (her own and all the hearts of the lady Irregulars) about these three well-loved and highly regarded men, most especially Iain Laurenson who has shown exceptional support from the earliest days.

We also discovered that the Irregulars have something of a poet-in-residence, in the form of Richard Cross, who at that moment, captured the evening by penning "Boat Naming", reproduced below.

A rather extraordinary evening.

London Rowing Club, Putney Embankment, 6th October, 2016

At the renaming of the club’s now and distinguished skiff, Tubby Bryant, a former ‘skip’,

And in celebration of the rowing careers to date of Messrs Laurenson, Pearson and van Mesdag, ‘Irregulars’...


Boat Naming

As ushers in the Tideway Thames, to feast

Our times, we gather here and toast our friends

That e’er rowed oar, with renamed skiff from past

And Eton,“Tubs”.  Her subtle, lithe-long line

Lies darkly this October night, offsets

Less brazen craft; her varnished flanks, time-worn,

Cry out our throng “restore my innocence”

And “tell not whom as crew, nor cox, I’ve borne!”


For she had taken much and many’a stroke

Of Fortune, next the banks of Father Thames;

For upstream many’a ‘blade’ she’d wily coached

To nuptials all downstream; her sturdy frames,

Enigma, rode all tide and ran the flood,

The torpid ‘swells’, even, by Hammersmith.