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Olympian helps honour former headteacher
Published 17/03/14



SIR Steve Redgrave officially named four new boats during a visit to the Reading Blue Coat School in Sonning.

The five-times Olympic gold medallist was joined by pupils, staff, parents and governors for the ceremony.

An eight was named James McArthur II after former headteacher James McArthur, who taught at the school for 11 years. A previous boat was named after him while he was still at the school.

The other three boats were named John Callendar after a former governor and supporter of the Blue Coat Boat Club, David Sillitoe after a governor who masterminded the school’s boat house, which was opened in 2009, and Graham Jarrett, a former chairman of the Friends of Boating.

Headteacher Michael Windsor said: “We are absolutely delighted to have Sir Steve with us.

“He stands for certain principles and values that we really want our pupils to develop. I can’t think of a better guest to have with us for this event.”

Sir Steve said: “There is a lot of work put in by the administrators, staff and chairmen that allows us athletes to go out on the river and that’s why we’re honouring James McArthur today.

“James cames to the school from Langley in Norfolk in 1997. He was headmaster here for 11 years before retiring from teaching.

“During that period the school grew in numbers and saw really big changes. He was a keen supporter and a regular at the school’s regatta during the last few years he was at the school.”

Pupils presented gifts to the four men honoured, including Mr McArthur, who said: “It is a great honour to have another eight named after me. I was really quite surprised. I’m hoping this one comes up trumps at Henley Royal Regatta.

“The most striking thing for me when I received the invitation was how well rowing is continuing to progress at the school. I’m delighted to see the numbers of boys and girls getting involved.”

After the ceremony, guests were invited for lunch before Sir Steve took part in a question and answer session with some of the pupils.

He told them: “If you don’t enjoy what you are doing, you’re never going to get the best out of yourself. In sport you have got to try to improve the things you don’t do very well.

“I had natural speed when I got in a boat but I didn’t have endurance training, so after changing my training to work to more endurance the success started to come easier.”

Alex Gass, 17, the school’s captain of boats, said: “It’s great to have someone who has had great success over the years come and talk to us.

“Sir Steve was at the top of his game for so long. Hopefully some of what he said has rubbed off on the guys and they know more about what it takes.”


Published 17/03/14

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