Friday, 24 September 2021

Keith leaves temporary job after 23 years

WHEN he was asked to help out at Wargrave and Shiplake Regatta, Keith Pearce agreed, albeit slightly reluctantly.

WHEN he was asked to help out at Wargrave and Shiplake Regatta, Keith Pearce agreed, albeit slightly reluctantly.

That was 23 years ago... and he has been doing it ever since.

However, this year’s regatta, which took place at the weekend, was his last as the 70-year-old has finally stood down.

Keith, a semi-retired property developer, was responsible for rigging pontoons, supplying water to the site, creating walkways and putting up flagpoles, scaffolding and fencing.

His involvement started when Peter Symons, the regatta’s honorary secretary, was unexpectedly let down at the last minute. Keith, who lives in Stonor, recalls: “I was sorting out Peter’s house at the time and he asked me to do it and I said I would for one year.



“Back then I had a team of six or seven people who would help me but over the years it has changed and towards the end it was a two-person job.

“The equipment arrives, which is incredibly well organised by Peter, and we go about putting it out.”

This year he was helped by his 12-year-old grandson Charlie, who came over from Jersey with his mother Sophia, Keith’s daughter.

“I usually find a university student to help me for two or three years but Charlie wanted some work experience,” says Keith. After the two-day regatta finished on Saturday, he was presented with the Hermon Trophy for his contribution to the event.

Sophia, Charlie, Keith’s wife Pat, his other daughter Isla and his other grandchildren were all present.

Mr Symons said: “Keith has just been wonderful — exactly the sort of person organisers want to work with. Nothing was ever too much trouble for him.”

So what does Keith think of the job he was only meant to have for one year?

“It’s an enjoyable experience that got me out in the open,” he says. “My favourite part is going down on a Sunday at 6.30am after it has all finished. It’s beautiful.”



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