DOB 1st July 1949 
Born Reading – Moved to Blackheath 1953
Married my wife Gillian since 1974 to present day. (Reception was held in the Curlew (old building). Great evening.
I am now retired. Main professional role:  Contracts Manager EMEA Region for German Manufacturer.

Started my rowing career in 1966/7 at the Curlew because I thought it a good idea at the time. Progressed through Novices, Junior, Junior Senior and occasionally Elite when Peter Blaseby was in the crew. I also remember rowing in a Senior Junior race – how the various classes worked I have absolutely no idea. I rowed in the Tideway Head of the River from 1967 through to 1977 and other events such as the Fours’ Head, Nottingham HOR, Kingston, Greenwich HOR plus others. Many an outing was enjoyed in the coxless four and can remember quite vividly sinking the thing just off Deptford Creek. Remarkably, we managed to row submerged across the Thames to Poplar and Blackwall RC and this experience is still embedded in my memory.
In the 1974/75 season I was Peter Blaseby”s Vice Captain, thus becoming Captain of the Curlew in 1976. My rowing career stopped around 1977 when I decided to return to playing rugby until 1989.
I have to say, having sampled quite a few sports in my time, rowing was by far the most demanding (physically and mentally), the most enjoyable and satisfying sport I have experienced. In addition to the physical enjoyment, I met some wonderful people along the way, many becoming my closest friends, still to this day. 
Some notable points to mention:
  • Our Junior section was extremely active made up largely from pupils of St Dunstans’, Colfes’ and Eltham College.
  • Regular discos were held at the old club which were very popular with Curlew members and ladies from the local Nurses’ home in Greenwich.
  • Working parties on the old raft on a regular basis. Memories of clambering under the old rickety wooden raft covered in Thames mud, screwing lumps of wood together, tethering old ships masts with bits of chain and rope. This was usually undertaken on the coldest day of the year, followed by copious amounts of beer. Now that was indeed an experience. 
  • My claim to fame was arguing for the introduction of women to the Rowing club as full “Rowing” members. The proposal was rejected three times consecutively at the AGM’s – I won’t even mention the reasons why there were so many objections. Quite unbelievable. Anyway, we managed to get the motion through I believe in or around 76/77. Thank heavens for that !!!
  • Other memorable events include Rum Punch, Rob Roy, the annual rugby match against Gravesend RC, rowing the eight to and from Putney where we camped at Midland Bank RC prior to the annual HOR, plus the absolutely exhausting mid-week fitness training in the Royal Naval College. The Naval fitness instructor incorporated the Canadian SAS regime that frankly would see most people off. He was definitely some sort of sadist but he did get us remarkably fit in those days.

We are hosting a Alumni day on the 12th August 2018 at our clubhouse, The event will be hosted by the current Curlew Committee alongside our special guest John Brunton who has been instrumental in getting us back in touch with some older Curlew friends from far and wide.

Further information will follow in the coming months…

Please get in touch with me (laura.l.binns@gmail.com) if you know of any past Curlew members who we may not be currently connected to, but may be interested in coming along to this event or supporting the club in other ways.

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