On 3rd July, forty years almost to the day (2nd July 1978) after the 1st VIII won the Special Race for Schools at the Henley Royal Regatta, the 1978 crew, along with the 1st VIII from 1977, returned to Henley for a Reunion Dinner at the famous Leander Club, which in 2018 has been marking its own two hundred year anniversary.
With the Dinner taking place on the eve of the Henley Royal Regatta, we were delighted that every single member of both crews joined us at this special event, with OBs and their partners flying in from as far as Singapore, Chile, South Africa, the USA and Australia. We were also very pleased that the Master in Charge of Rowing at the time, the Reverend Michael Hepworth, was able to join us.
The party was joined by the current 1st VIII over drinks and the Head Master welcomed everyone and thanked them for attending. To the amusement of many, we then tried to recreate the original photographs of the 1977 and 1978 crews with each OB sitting in the same position they had forty years earlier. Some individuals obviously thought that they had aged better than others!
During the Dinner, Pete Mulkerrins, Director of Rowing, gave an update on the School Boat Club and touched upon a number of highlights from the season. This certainly gave everyone high hopes for the 1st VIII in the first race of the Princess Elizabeth Challenge Cup the following day; which we are happy to report were completely justified, as they won by three lengths!
Both Nick Sinfield and Tony Amberg gave amusing speeches which captured the spirit of the seventies and the special times that were shared. The only disappointment for all was that their coach, John Osborne, could not attend from his home in Ecuador due to work commitments, but everybody was thrilled that he had sent a video message which everybody enjoyed. The clip clearly showed what a special period this was in John’s life and the great affection and mutual respect that is shared by all.
Many of those who attended the reunion had not seen one another for forty years, but listening to them talking and laughing together, it was clear that they all had a very special bond that continues to this day.