Obituaries

Gilly Scruby

Gilly’s death from pneumonia just before Christmas was a surprise and a shock to all of us who knew her. She was married to Eric Scruby, who coxed at the club for many years and was the Club’s most successful Social Secretary. In her own right however, she played a significant role in unifying the different strands of the club, by forming a team with my wife, Britt, and providing Thursday Suppers for many years. These meals were simple but satisfying single courses for about £3 each. This was so successful that as much as £20,000 was produced and put back into the club in the form of kitchen equipment and the building of the then new kitchen. The effect of these regular meals was to bring all the squads together, giving an immense boost to club morale.

Gilly herself was pretty, very English, decorous, charming and the food was good. Thursday nights were a real attraction!

Everyone in the club sympathises with Eric for the loss of his wife. They were married for over fifty years.

 

Ted Bates

Philip Sallis

It is with great sadness that I have to inform our Members that PHILIP  ANDREW  RICHARD  SALLIS passed away on 18th October in Rondebosch, Cape Town, South Africa.

 

“PAR” Sallis as he was always known, was Captain of our Club in 1971.

 

He attended Hampton Grammar School 1954-62 and took up rowing in about 1958. PAR rowed Bow in the first HGSBC VIII to enter the Princess Elizabeth Challenge Cup in 1961. In the second round they lost to eventual winners Shrewsbury. The following year, with PAR again at Bow and still at 10st 7lbs, they reached the Semi Final losing to eventual winners Radley.

 

In 1963 PAR had come to Molesey and rowed Bow in the VIII which won its three Junior/Senior events in seven days before winning the magnificent Thames Cup VIIIs trophy at Marlow.

In 1964 we rowed together in a Wyfold IV with John Wood and Roger Maskell. Before Henley we continually lost to a Marlow crew. At Henley we were coached by Chris Davidge – undoubtedly the greatest English oarsman of his generation. Chris pointed out that coaching during a race was forbidden but if he shouted “Well rowed Molesey” that was the signal to spurt! I think that shout started soon after the top of the Island! It was only at the Mile that we took the lead and won by a length.

 

After Henley we won Wyfolds at Kingston and Molesey regattas beating a fancied Weybridge crew. PAR was Bow Steers. After the Final at Molesey the Umpire, the renowned Freddie Page, came up to us in his launch and made the comment I will never forget “Molesey, I can’t admire your steering but I can admire your guts”.

 

I rowed with PAR several more times until my final Henley in 1968.

 

PAR’s parents and sister Sheila were great supporters and truly active helpers at both HGSBC and Molesey. In 1964 his father had the good sense to present his son with MBC Life Membership as his 21st  Birthday present.

The sad news has reached many of our 1960s generation around the world. We all feel the loss of a good friend, a part of OUR Rowing community.

 

PAR was born on 7th January 1943 in Cardiff, Wales. He is survived by his children Mark and Anna in England and stepchildren Susan in Cape Town and Michael in London and by his three grandchildren, Joseph, Eliza and Emily. And of course by his sister Sheila.

 

A Memorial Service was held on 22nd October at St James the Great, Sea Point, Cape Town.

Andrew Paterson

The Club has learnt recently that Andrew, who died in April 2015, very kindly left the Club a legacy which will be spent on rowing equipment.

Andrew, who was well known and held in great affection by the older members of the Club, loved the river and rowing. He was very active in masters rowing at MBC and other clubs from the mid 1970s, through to the early 2000s by which time he had decided he was becoming too frail to continue. He first learnt to row at Winchester in the early 1950s and went up to Pembroke College, Cambridge, reading modern languages. He rowed at Henley in the Wyfold in 1954 and 1955.

His career was in marketing and advertising and he moved to Festing Road in Putney in the early 1960s. In about 1975 he joined Molesey Boat Club and became a club stalwart. One of his many achievements was that he played a big part in reviving Molesey Regatta.

Andrew was a major part of the London Rowing Club ‘Irregulars’, which was a group of masters rowers who didn’t have time to do full time training so rowed and socialised a couple of times a week. He organised many joint rows between MBC and tideway clubs, particularly LRC, typically comprising an outing on the Tideway followed by a large meal in the LRC boathouse.

In 1978 Andrew became a Governor, later Clerk, of the Thomas Martyn Foundation, an educational charity for watermen. He held office for 23 years. He also became a ‘Craft-Owning’ Freeman of the Company of Watermen and Lightermen in the City in 1989, regularly attending Court and Freemen’s lunches.

Andrew was very generous with his time, helping out various clubs with coaching and other assistance. As a result he received honorary memberships of Lady Elizabeth Boat Club (Trinity College, Dublin) and of Kings College Boat Club (University of London).

Amusingly Andrew was not one for modern technology such as mobile phones or emails: all communications from him were handwritten or typed. However this did not prevent him from keeping in touch with all the friends he made in the rowing world. He is much missed.

Dick Child

Douglas “Dick” Child

Dick was born on 2nd November 1926 and went to Tiffin School in Kingston where, on his father’s recommendation, he learnt to row. He joined Molesey Boat Club in the 1940s where he rowed as a junior.

After school, rather than going to Cambridge he joined the Royal Navy. When he left the navy he joined Shell and worked in oil production all over the world, including Venezuela, Oman, Kenya and India.

He met Margaret when she was serving in Nigeria in 1963 and their daughter Sarah was born in 1964. Their son Matthew was born in the UK in 1967.

Doug competed in the Rome 1960 Olympics but in team sailing and he represented Kenya, not the UK!

When he returned to the UK he went back to rowing and rowed in various veteran crews. He was President of the club for a total of five years in 1993 and then from 1996 to 1999 and for a long time he was also a member of Auriel Kensington. He and Margaret went to the Atlanta, Sydney, Athens, Beijing and London Olympics as spectators.

Despite two bouts of cancer Dick kept on rowing to the early 2000s but he finally had to give up rowing for health reasons, although he was still a regular attender at the club for many years. He died on 9th July 2017, having been active until the end. 

Douglas Keens

Douglas died on December 7 2013 having been suffering from Parkinson’s Disease for many years. He learned to scull whilst at Shrewsbury and continued at Cambridge where he rowed and also coached a Lady Margaret’s crew. He spent 2 years service at sea with the Royal Navy prior to his career as an engineer which took him abroad a great deal, but when he settled again in England he joined Twickenham RC. There he made his name there by contributing to their Bulletin with his extraordinary knowledgeable articles on the local birds, buildings and other parts of the river scene. He later moved to Molesey and joined MBC in 1996 where, as a Regatta helper, he was particularly noted for his enthusiastic painting. If there was work to be done, Douglas would be there, even to the point of replacing the grab holds by using handles lifted from one of his more robust suit cases. As his illness took hold he was forced to lay down his blade and became a very valued cox of the Supervets crew. He also represented  the Club on the Thames River Users Group  Most of all he will be remembered as real English gentleman, inspiring the Crew and all those who knew him with his quiet, kindly manner and never ending helpfulness.  At this sad time our thoughts are with his wife Regitze and their family. 

Acer Nethercott

Acer Nethercott: 28/11/1977-26/1/2013

He was one of Britain’s best ever coxes. To his crews, he brought a combative desire to win, together with an incredibly sharp mind. Both were real confidence boosters whether your boat was in the middle of a really tight head to head race, or half-way through a 20k UT2 session and needed some inspiration. He will rightly be remembered for his role in two memorable Oxford victories in 2003 & 2005, together with the Olympic silver he won coxing the British eight in Beijing. But unsurprisingly for such a high-achiever, there was far more too him.

Having come up through the ranks of Oxford rowing – steering the Dark Blue women in the 2000 Boat Race, Acer knew what a crucial role that coxes could play in the development of young rowers.  Therefore he had no hesitation in offering to help out with the Sporting Giants programme at Molesey Boat Club in 2008 – the same year he was driving for Olympic selection. Beneath his sometimes quiet, cerebral and focussed exterior, lay a  man with big heart; responsible for giving a helping hand to so many in British rowing.

More than anyone, Acer knew how fine the lines were between the cox making a real difference to the crew’s performance. In 2003, it was in part down to his refusal to concede any water to the Light Blue eight along Chiswick Eyot in the 2003 Boat Race, that Oxford were able to hang on and subsequently go through to beat their rivals by the narrowest of margins. Yet just 12 months earlier, it was Acer’s decision to push Cambridge hard early in the race that led to the clash, which cost his crew the race.

Those are the type of calls you want your cox to make and it was no surprise that Sean Bowden once more trusted Acer with the job of steering Oxford’s legendary 2005 crew. They were a boat packed-full of international talent and Acer ensured that they delivered their best on the day.

The Olympic cycle of 2004-08, saw Acer once more involved in crafting a top-class British eight, though the process took its time. There were no medals for the crew in the first couple of years. But by the Munich championships of 2007, the crew were good enough to win a bronze medal. By the time of the Beijing Olympics, it was clear that the British and Canadian eights would dispute the Gold medal. And it was a mark of the crew’s desire and Acer’s competitiveness that their silver medal was seen as a disappointment.

It was typical of the man that he refused to discuss his illness. And when he went for coxing trials in 2012 for the British Olympic eight, many of the crew did not know that he was suffering from cancer. He has left behind some wonderful memories but also a big hole, which is of course, irreplaceable.  

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