Diamond Jubilee Weekend Report

As the country celebrated the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty the Queen, Royal West played its part.
On Saturday we held a Diamond Jubilee Regatta on the Esplanade with clubs from Anstruther, North Berwick, Portobello & Queensferry. The course was initially set from the Club to Madeira Street and back, however during the second race the unfortunate incident off Madeira Street unfolded and a decision was taken to shorten the course and run all events within view of the Club.
Birdie Bowers in the foreground
The first race, Men’s 40+, (start line pictured above) was won by North Berwick with Royal West coming in second. The second race, Women’s 40+, was won by St Ayles RC of Anstruther. This started a winning streak for them taking the next 5 events (Men’s Open, Women’s Open, Women’s 50+, Mixed Open & Mixed 50+). North Berwick fought back at the end to win the Mixed 40+ event.
The pairs events had to be cancelled due to the worsening weather conditions.
St. Ayles Ladies
The Colin Ross Memorial Salver was presented to St Ayles RC in recognition of their outstanding performance on the day.
During the lunch break a group of Junior members from Royal West (pictured below) undertook a sponsored row. They went out in Royal West’s “Birdie Bowers” and also in “St Ayles”, the Anstruther skiff, and rowed the adult racing course. Well done to the next generation who raised almost £400 for Cancer Research UK in the process.
Proud of thier efforts
The event was supported by the visiting clubs, friends & families, umpires as well as local businesses that sponsored the racing. The Club would like to thank all those who helped and our sponsors:
Keyline Builders Merchants
React Catering Services Ltd.
McGills Buses
Inverclyde Leisure
Insight Travel Services
Café Continental
West of Scotland Insurance
Fun World / Laser Matrix
At the prize giving the efforts of Captain of Boats Alex Paterson, was recognised by the presentation of a new hat. The assistance of Ewen Chisholm in moving boats was also acknowledged by the presentation of a new uniform T-shirt.
Saturday was rounded off with a social gathering in the Club attended by Royal West members and friends, along with the entire St. Ayles RC contingent. A very good night was had by all, this year without the need for any visits to A&E.
It had been planned that Sunday would be a small scale pageant on the Esplanade or a social row to Kilcreggan. The weather and river conditions meant that once again the plans had to be revised. After discussions over tea, coffee and biscuits in the Racing Shed a plan was hatched to make a visit to Lyle Hill to give our visitors a better view of the area and then retire to the Club TV Lounge to watch the Diamond Jubilee Pageant.
The Anstruther folks were astounded by the view from Lyle Hill and we spent 30-40 minutes up there taking it all in and explaining the different lochs and local features.
Back at the Club hot drinks and hotdogs were a welcome relief from the prevailing Easterly wind that had threatened unsuccessfully to ruin the weekend. The TV was on and the build up to the Pageant was causing nerves in the Club.
Royal West, along with Castle Semple RC, had been asked to provide a boat and crew to represent the Lieutenancy of Renfrewshire. Weeks of preparation by both clubs had led to this moment in front of Her Majesty the Queen and the world’s press.
The crew left with Whiteforeland early on Friday morning arriving in Walton-on-Thames (West London) at around 18:30. They stayed overnight with the Duncan Graham, a former Captain of Boats & Life member who lives and works in London. On Saturday they moved Whiteforeland to Dukes Meadow near Thames Tradesmen’s RC where half of the crew camped on Saturday night.
They were joined on Saturday night by the Lord Lieutenant of Renfrewshire and his wife, who brought some light refreshments with them. The boat was being decorated for the event and the Lord Lieutenant was keen to inspect.
Sunday was tense for all involved, though everyone had rowed before they had never rowed together. Duncan Graham, who was the boats designated skipper, had only ever met one of the crew before and that was about 20 years ago. The crew launched about 4-5 hours before the Pageant started and had some time together rowing to the muster point, concerns about the crew’s capabilities were quickly dispelled.
If you were watching the BBC TV coverage carefully you will see that Whiteforeland was one boat away as they passed Her Majesty the Queen.
The weather did not dampen their enthusiasm or sense of honour at having represented the Club and the County. One of the Castle Semple member said, on their return last night, that the spectacle of rowing under Tower Bridge during the event made her smile like a Cheshire cat one minute and then burst into tears the next. Others talked about their sense of pride. Mat Henderson referred to the number and diversity of the rowing boats being spectacular.
When they arrived back at the Club last night they were welcomed by family & friends. There was a very positive buzz even after such a long drive. A group of Royal Navy personnel ,on a sponsored bike ride from John O’ Grouts to Lands End, were in the bar and volunteered to assist offload Whiteforeland. This was greatly appreciated by all.
The Captain of Boats has asked that the crew reconvene at Royal West, 5pm on Saturday 30th June (Greenock Fair Saturday), to do a short presentation of their exploits and show photos to all members and guests who want to learn more. We will be pressing for attendance by the Provost, Lord Lieutenant, etc. Watch out for more details.
This weekend we also held a live music event on Sunday night organised by George Carson (Jnr). The Boat Club Jubilee Music Night was truly fantastic. Thanks to the performers and audience we raised £150 for club funds and experienced great music from George & Cheryl, Veronique, Martin Jones, Stewart Anderson, Gordon Mackenzie, Al & Billy, Tom & David. Thanks also to those who brought food for the buffet and prizes for the raffle. Well done Jim Campbell doing the raffle.
This weekend was a great success. Those who gave of their time to assist in any way have the thanks and appreciation of all the membership and Committee.