Rob van Mesdag writes…
Cedric Sheppard who died on 10 November 2017 in a Nursing Home in London is likely to have steered more Club members around Venice’s lagoon than anyone else. His first participation in the 20-mile Vogalonga dates from the late 1960s and his last effort at surviving the usual myriad of turbulent craft goes back to ten years ago. He mostly steered clinker fours but once or twice an eight.
He joined LRC in 1962 and while his proficiency at rowing never reached great heights he contributed to the Club considerably. As a graduate of Trinity College Dublin he attracted a number of his fellow students to join ‘London’ following their graduation. Through foreign travel he met rowing friends in Italy whom he persuaded to join the Club and being a stockbroker in the City he became the Club’s long-time investment manager advising on a fairly sizeable portfolio which came to be used as the Club’s contribution to an important appeal for the Club’s development which took place between 2005 and 2007.
Cedric was born in Maidstone on 16 January 1929. During the war the family moved to Cornwall where Cedric first went a local school before going up to Gresham’s School which had been evacuated from its normal base in Norfolk and which returned there after the war. His father encouraged him to apply for Trinity College Dublin where Cedric read Natural Sciences, specialising in geology. His knowledge of mining and oil thus acquired enabled him to specialise in these fields upon joining a firm of London stockbrokers.
Meanwhile other interests beckoned. A keen skier, he became a member of the Stock Exchange Ski Club, taking part in its annual competitions; he loved sports cars, once being the owner of an Austin Healey; he became a liveryman of the Tallow Chandlers Company, their sloop often moored outside our Club; he was a superb photographer and was a member of gentleman’s clubs in Dublin and London with attractive reciprocal arrangements elsewhere. As a horseman he helped exercise polo ponies in Richmond Park and on Sundays occasionally rode a horse belonging to the Spanish ambassador.
But Venice had a special place in his heart perhaps because of its problems. Scarcity of boats in Venice itself used to cause an annual nightmare when trying to hire one from local clubs which was only solved once trailer-delivery of boats from England came into fashion while the event itself became worryingly over- crowded, canoeists with their paddles harpooning the bows of Cedric’s four - then capsizing - and the entire fleet coming to a halt upon re-entering the Canal Cannareggio. Then at the finish his girlfriend Diana, disguised as Cedric’s team manager with a large bag of sandwiches and Prosecco, would be at hand to resuscitate an exhausted crew. Their friendship began in 1989 becoming ever more close as Cedric’s health declined during the last 18 month of his life. Our thoughts go out to Diana.