The world’s most prestigious rowing event, Henley Royal Regatta, allowed Lancaster John O’Gaunt Rowing Club a lap of honour to celebrate the club’s 175th Anniversary recently. Club members were allowed to row up the one mile, 550 yards racing stretch of the Thames during the lunch interval on finals day, when Lancaster shared the course with top crews from around the world.
Lancaster John O’Gaunt, founded in 1842, is one of the oldest rowing clubs in the UK. It is the oldest sports club of any kind in the Lancaster area. The crew for the day was Megan Abra, Tom Kerr, Rosie Sanderson, Lorna Sullivan, William Burrow, Richie Smith, Ellie Kerr and Steve Sullivan, with Joe Gelder as cox.
The club is recovering from the devastation of Storm Desmond in December 2015 when four metres deep of flood water ripped through the boathouse at Skerton. It has been based on the site since 1945 and there is no record in the club’s history of any such disaster. Club chair, Mike Pugh, said: “The Henley Row Past is the culmination of 18 month’s repair and rebuilding.
“After 175 years and thousands of members, we are still going strong on the River Lune.” The actual date of the foundation is in September when the club members will celebrate with a lunch at the Lancaster Golf Club.
View from within the crew:
Being part of the Henley Regatta row past to celebrate 175 years of rowing on the Lune was a truly awesome experience. The weather was perfect – sunny but not too hot, Joe steered us up to the start without incident, the officials were helpful and looked on benignly, the crowd cheered us on. We kept up a good pace and a took a straight line back down the course, and although thought I might die in the last 250 yards when Steve at stroke got a tad carried away, we all live to tell the tale. I am not sure if Joe appreciated his enforced dip in the Thames, however we all enjoyed the picnic under the special banner manufactured by Mike and his wife. A true representation of JOG, demonstrating teamwork across age and gender. Many thanks to Mike Pugh for organising the whole thing, and to fellow crew members Ellie, Lorna, Tom, Will, Steve, Richie, Megan and Joe. An event not to be repeated for another 25 years.