Monday, 20 September 2021

Leander Club launches bicentenary book

Leander Club launches bicentenary book

LEANDER Club’s bicentenary year kicked off in style with the launch of a commemorative book.

The First 200 Years was unveilled in front of more than 100 members and guests at 11 Downing Street, the official residence of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond.  

Club president Jeremy “Rass” Randall led the proceedings and the club’s favourite tipple, Leander Pink, from Digby Fine English, was served.

The 300-page book took more than a year to put together under the editorship of Andy Trotman, himself a Leander member for more than 30 years.

Mr Randall paid tribute to the leadership and commitment shown by Mr Trotman, whose former experience as a publisher stood him in good stead as he brought the project to fruition.

The lavishly illustrated volume looks back over the 200-year history of the club, including its early beginnings in Lambeth, the club’s move upstream to Putney and ultimately to Henley and includes the trials and tribulations that culminated in the 1984 “revolution”, which paved the way for Leander’s recent run of success. 

Former president Sir George Cox who, as a one-time chairman of GB selectors, wrote the chapter chronicling the club’s Olympic athletes, described one the book’s themes. “Our object is to celebrate the past, not live it” he said.

Other chapters describe a day in the life of the club, the rigorous training schedule of the current athletes, and the thriving outreach programme which does so much to bring newcomers into the sport at junior level.

Already the book is being greeted with acclaim by Leander members, whose subscriptions financed the enterprise, while some copies are also being made available to the public.

Last week, the Henley Standard reported how a new entrance gate is to be built at the club to mark its 200th anniversary.

Workmen began tearing down the existing brick structure on Monday following a ceremonial start by five-time Olympic champion Sir Steve Redgrave.

The new entrance will be about twice the width with a double gate bearing the club’s insignia and two metal plates inscribed with the years 1818 and 2018.

Pictured from left: book editor Andy Trotman, past-president Sir George Cox, former captain Hugh Twiss, club president Jeremy Randall, US historian Peter Mallory and world war expert Nicky Bird. Credit: Ian Macdonald

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