Words by Michael Jeans (UBBC 1961-64):
In September 2014 I attended the opening of the new boathouse at Saltford - what a great event and long overdue - the old one was falling down when I was there 1961-64! I was talking to the indefatigable Gordon Trivet who told me that a new Empacher VIII had been gifted by John Rutley. he then said that it was a shame that there wasn’t a new set of ‘Skinny’ oars to accompany the new VIII (in recent years oar manufacturers have made a great leap forward, dramatically reducing the diameter of a blade’s loom). I spoke to several other attendees on hand at the boathouse opening and the idea was born of seeking sponsorship for a set of oars costing around £3,000.
I liaised with Chris Hartley and decided that an ‘appeal’ should be targeted at UBBC Alumni from the 1950s & 1960s with whom the University had contact addresses/emails - some 60/70 people. The basic proposition was: ‘donate £200 and I’ll donate a further £50; with Gift Aid of another £50, that will buy an oar with your name inscribed on it’. We got enough to buy the full set of oars - though some gave less than £200. At least 15% of those to whom I wrote responded positively - a great ‘hit rate’ in terms of fundraising!
This appeal followed a similar structure to one initiated about three years ago to purchase a coaching launch - again a successful campaign with the funds being raised much quicker than anticipated.
The 8 blades went on to be used by the club’s top Men’s and Women’s coxed fours in their respective Henley Royal and Henley Women’s Regatta campaigns. Following the misfortune of Henley Qualifiers 2015 for UBBC the state of the art new ‘skinny’ blades were taken up by Nonesuch BC seeing action in the Wyfold and Britannia Challenge Cups.
Thank you to all involved for your generous support.