HENLEY Town and Visitors’ Regatta has elected John Friend as its president for 2014.
The rower, coach and umpire took over from Dr Ian Reid at the annual meeting on Thursday last week.
Mr Friend, of Wargrave Road, Henley, is president of Henley Rowing Club, where he has been a member since 1973.
He said: “I am very pleased to have been elected president a for 2014. My first excursion to the regatta was as a competitor in 1968 and I have attended regularly ever since.
“I believe it to be the best organised and most enjoyable local regatta on the best stretch of river in the country.
“It is a community event, entirely manned by volunteers, to be enjoyed by anyone who wishes to come and provides a lovely day out for families and friends around the area.”
Mr Friend, who is married with three grown-up sons, began rowing for Magdalen College School, Oxford, and continued with Thames Rowing Club in London, where he worked in the computer industry.
He took over as secretary of Reading Amateur Regatta in 1973 and became chairman in 1984. He was a member of the GB rowing multi-lane umpires commission for 21 years, the last four of them as chairman, before retiring in 2011.
He has umpired at two world championships, the 2004 Olympics in Athens and Henley Royal Regatta as well as being chosen as an assistant starter for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic regattas. Noel Snell has retired from his role as honorary medical officer of the regatta after 37 years.
Dr Snell, 66, a former Henley mayor, was given a tankard to mark his time on the committee.
He said: “Rest assured that I will continue to support the regatta wholeheartedly, particularly the social events.”
Mark Davies, who was elected deputy president, said last year’s regatta had a record 239 crews entered into the draw.
He added: “The regatta went very well and benefited from good weather. In fact it was one of the most successful and enjoyable events I have experienced and feedback from all quarters was excellent.”
James Lee has taken over as honorary general secretary from Mr Davies who held the role for 11 years.
This year’s regatta will be held on Saturday, August 2. For more information, visit www.henleytownregatta.org.uk