Social News


Iain Laurenson – Irregulars' Commodore – celebrates birthday at LRC

On 2 November 2013 Iain Laurenson celebrated his 80th birthday at the Clubhouse with Meike, family and friends, including a sizeable turn-out of LRC Veterans and Irregulars. Towards the end of a fine meal and before the musical entertainment provided by the Laurenson family Stephen Wright spoke of Iain’s tireless capacity for sustaining rowing amongst both the more senior “Irregular” members and the recent intake of enthusiasts new to the sport. With the benefit of years of diplomacy at the highest level he conveyed the gratitude of the Irregulars in particular for Iain’s commitment to keeping everyone boated no matter how extreme their irregularity and avoiding the need for anyone else to think. Stephen then presented a substantial cheque as a gift from Iain’s many friends and admirers in the Club.

Word has it that Iain and Meike will be leaving the Irregulars to sort themselves out for a while, as they enjoy a well-earned holiday.


David and Daniel depart LRC

As many members will by now be aware, David and Daniel Hillman-McDonald resigned from their position as the Club’s joint Venue Managers in early August, and ceased working at the Club with immediate effect.  Jason Gray, our newly-elected Honorary House Steward in charge of catering, assisted by a dedicated team of volunteers from our membership, has worked tirelessly to serve the Club’s and our clients’ needs pending the appointment of a new Manager, and we are extremely grateful to all of them for their efforts.

We have made very good progress towards the appointment of a new Manager, and expect to make an announcement about this very soon.  In the meantime any concerns, queries and offers of help should be directed to Jason Gray at



Fund-raising evening with the Laurensons

A fund-raising dinner, in aid of the Explore Rowing Boat Fund, will take place at London Rowing Club on Wednesday 13 February, 7.30 for 8 pm.  Dinner will be cooked by Iain Laurenson, and a selection of puddings will be provided by friends.  The price is £15 per head.  Please book direct with Iain Laurenson, tel. 01737 248909, or email  After diner Meike Laurenson will give a talk entitled "Growing up in wartime Germany"



More Umpires needed

The Thames Region has more competitors, regattas and head races than any other part of the UK. To ensure every event has sufficient licensed Officials there needs to be at least 120 active people on the Umpires’ list. There is a great variety of events and opportunities for Umpiring in the Thames Region.  Every year the TRUC needs to recruit and train new Umpires to replace those who are retiring or moving out of the Region.

Umpires come from a variety of backgrounds within the sport. It is helpful if you have competed yourself, although many successful Umpires have come into the sport via administration or through their involvement with a head race or regatta. Several members of London Rowing Club are licensed Umpires, including four current members of the Committee: Mike Williams and Ben Helm (both FISA Umpires), and Richard Philips and Jeremy Hudson (both Multi-lane endorsed).

There are no formal criteria for what constitutes a suitable candidate. Candidates have almost always been actively involved in the sport as a competitor, coach, club officer or event organiser. It is not necessary to have rowed or coxed personally.

The age range of the current Umpires in the region is 25 – 69. Many people train as Umpires when they cease to compete in open events. Some Umpires continue to compete, usually as Veterans. Candidates must be nominated by a Club, Regatta etc.  Importantly, an umpire needs to be able to deal firmly but fairly with competitors. British Rowing requires that licensed umpires are registered members of British Rowing.

Umpires' duties at events vary enormously. For example, Starters, Aligners, Race Umpires, the Chief Judge and the Head of the Control Commission must be licensed Umpires (or a supervised trainee). A Regatta must have a Race Committee whose Chair and at least two other members must be licensed. At a Head Race the Chief Umpire must be licensed.

Training for 2013 starts in late January and finishes in the Autumn. After an introduction evening candidates take a written exam on the Rules of Racing a few weeks later. In April they attend an Umpires’ Seminar. These Seminars are held each Spring and every Umpire must attend a Seminar at least every three years. Candidates attend a minimum of two heads (including one of the major Tideway heads) and five regattas during the season. Here they are given an opportunity to experience the work of Umpires and to practise their own skills. At the end of the Summer candidates are tested on the practical application of the Rules by umpiring simulated races on a table top.

Once you qualify and receive your licence, you can umpire any race in Britain. There is an optional Multi Lane endorsement, which indicates that you have passed a multi-lane examination. Typically the people who are nominated for multi-lane training have at least three years’ experience and umpire regularly to a high standard.  The final qualification available is the FISA qualification. This permits the umpire to officiate at events held under FISA rules. Only umpires with a multi-lane endorsement are considered and FISA requires that candidates must be under the age of 50.

The Thames Region believes it has the best Umpires and the best training programme. The standards demanded are high and exacting. Only this way can we provide our competitors with the fair and safe racing they deserve.

If you would like to be considered for this year’s training programme please contact Jeremy Hudson (on our representative on the Thames Regional Umpires’ Commission.



LRC Annual Dinner 

The Club's Annual Dinner took place at the Clubhouse on Friday 18 January.  In spite of the snow and ice, over 100 Club members and their guests packed into the Long Room for this event.  The meal began with celeriac remoulade with smoked ham and capers, followed by slow cooked sirloin of beef, a dessert of French apple tart, and finally an excellent array of cheeses.


Breaking with tradition, the Captain Marco Espin made his speech before the main course, as he had to depart straight after this in order to attend his brother's 'stag night'!  Our principal speaker was Andrew Crawford, Deputy Chairman of British Rowing's newly-established Sport Committee and recently elected Steward of Henley Royal Regatta.  Harry Bond proposed the health of our President Mike Williams. to which the President replied.

Our thanks are due to Alan Foster, Hon House Steward, for his organisation of the event and to our Catering Managers David and Daniel for a fine meal.