THREE new stewards have been appointed for this year’s Henley Royal Regatta. Tom James and Mark Hunter are former international rowers who have more than 15 years of experience competing at the regatta between them. James won gold with Team GB in the coxless fours at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and London 2012 while Hunter did so in the lighweight double sculls in China. Fiona Dennis, who helps organise the Henley Women’s Regatta each June, rowed to national level before quitting the sport to become a teacher. She now umpires at events across Europe and works for several of the sport’s governing bodies. The trio were called by regatta chairman Mike Sweeney after the stewards’ annual meeting in December, where new stewards are proposed and approved. JAMIE PRESLAND talked to them about their roles.
FIONA DENNIS is an international umpire and a former member of the Thames Regional Umpires’ Committee.
She umpired at the 2012 London Paralympics, is a past member of both the British Rowing Council and the British Rowing Executive Board and currently chairs British Rowing’s competition committee, tasked with reviewing the current competition structure.
Mrs Dennis, who grew up in Derby and now lives in Marlow, says she was surprised to be made a steward given her relative lack of rowing pedigree as a competitor.
She said: “I was delighted, shocked and surprised when Mike Sweeney told me. I think that’s because most stewards are former internationals who have achieved a tremendous amount in the sport.