Wednesday, 08 December 2021

Henley Rotary Club

WHERE was the winning post for the first Henley Regatta in 1839?

This was one of the questions in a short quiz put to members at the club’s twilight meeting on Tuesday last week.

Club member John Luker was the speaker and at least two other members present got the right answer — that it had been situated on Red Lion Lawn, just yards across the road from where they were sitting.

John gave a potted history of the regatta, mentioning that it had first acquired the title of Henley Royal Regatta when Prince Albert (later the Prince Consort) became the first royal patron.

He based his talk on his own associations with the regatta, varying from spectating as a 13-year-old in 1946, competing at two regattas in the Fifties and assisting with the production of the daily programmes for more than 60 years.

He was elected a steward in 1984, assisted in the entries office for nine years in the Nineties and 2000s before then doing 10 years as a finishing judge.

John said all the answers to the quiz were contained in the daily programmes and he handed out copies from last year’s regatta, emphasising that the largest portion of the programme (bar the cover and outside 16pp section) had to be printed afresh every night.

After a number of questions, president Peter Thomson, the only other person in the room to have competed at the regatta, proposed the vote of thanks.

Among the visitors was Rotarian Malcolm Leonard, president-elect of the Rotary Club of Henley Bridge, who referred to the talks taking place between the two clubs about possibly joining forces in organising the Henley half marathon.

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