On Saturday 16th March the Friends of Bedford School Boat Club welcomed 110 parents, boys, coaches Old Bedfordians and boathouse staff to their annual Boat Club Dinner and Awards Evening. After a welcome from the Director of Rowing, Pete Mulkerrins, and Grace read by Ally Satchwill, we were treated to a delicious 3 course dinner led by Alex Grieve and the catering team from Bedford School.
After dinner, our guest speaker for the evening, Rory Mackenzie, delivered an inspirational and quite extraordinary speech about his journey from the battlefields of Iraq to the sunny climes of Barbados. Rory’s story started in 2007 when he lost his right leg to a roadside bomb. After months of rehabilitation Rory first completed the Help for Heroes Big Battlefield Bike Ride, then learnt to ski aiding in his physical and mental recovery. In 2012 Rory and a team of former Serviceman – two able-bodied and four injured – successfully crossed the Atlantic (3000 miles) in a rowing boat raising over £1 million for wounded soldiers. That Summer Rory spoke at the closing ceremony of the London Paralympic Games inspiring millions with his indomitable spirit for life. That spirit was evident throughout his after-dinner speech with many parents and boys later mentioning that they “could have listened to him for hours”.
It was then time for the Awards for the evening:
- The “Most Improved” award this year went to Alex King
- The J14 Outstanding Oarsman award was awarded to Arun Nanda
- The J15 Outstanding Oarsman award went to Lewis Schael
- The J16 Outstanding Oarsman award was given to Josh Lyon
Pete Mulkerrins handed out the final award of the evening -The Outstanding Oarsman (Seniors) – which this year was shared between Lennart Roese and Trent Abraham.
Captain of Boats, James Zhang, and Vice Captain of Boats, Lennart Roese, then spoke about their experiences of rowing at Bedford School.
After thanks were given to Rachel Maltby, Nicola Wilkins and Rhian Gordon for all their efforts on the evening and throughout the year, the raffle was drawn (causing much hilarity when Dr Suthers drew his own winning ticket!) bringing to an end a very enjoyable evening.