Clare Boat Club
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175th Anniversary

The 175th Anniversary of CBC fell in 2006.


Jenny Maud writes:

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The 175th Anniversary of the Boat Club was marked by a day of celebrations on the 24th June. Approximately 150 alumni and their guests attended the events, which involved an afternoon of informal racing followed by an evening drinks reception and dinner. The day began with the unveiling of a plaque on the newly renovated boathouse balcony to mark the culmination of the 175th Anniversary Appeal. The plaque is dedicated to John Spiers and Anne Brewin, patrons of the appeal. Two new eights were then named, with the men's eight named after Roger Heise (1965), long time supporter of the boat club. John Knox spoke of Roger's enthusiastic involvement with the boat club during his time at Clare, and of his continuing great interest in the sport of rowing, and generous support of CBC. The women's eight was named after a surprised and delighted Jenny Maud (2000) who was recognised for her contribution to the boat club during her 6 years at Clare and in particular the women's Lents headship campaign. Celia Duff and the trustees had led an intricate campaign of subterfuge to conceal the names of the new VIIIs and therefore this boat naming was a complete surprise!

A flotilla of eight VIIIs then took to the water for some informal side-by-side racing. Crews were arranged with contemporaries rowing together and it was therefore necessary to give some of the more mature members a slight head start. Current members of CBC acted as race marshals and umpires and were unanimously impressed by the standard of rowing witnessed- it seems that rowing is similar to riding a bicycle and never forgotten! Following a number of races, one involving a splendid procession of five Clare VIIIs past the Pike and Eel public house, attendees retired to the boathouse for some well-earned refreshments.

We re-assembled in Old Court in the evening for a champagne reception, during which a splendid display of the boat club's archives were viewed in the Latimer room. Items on display included the original deeds to the boathouse, a number of old captains books and trophies and a number of headship oars, including the most recent one from Lents this year. A booklet of Clare related anecdotes was produced to mark the 175th.

In a pre dinner speech, Trustee, Adrian Buckmaster, announced that the total raised in the Anniversary Appeal stood at £342,000, just nudging over the £330,000 target set to allow the boat club to become self sufficient. Adrian emphasised the importance of building the network of regular donors to the trust fund, and added that further donations to the appeal are more than welcome!

The Master then spoke of his impressions of, and admiration for, the boat club before unveiling the new CBC Major Donors board, which is to be displayed in the boathouse. The recent deaths of past CBC presidents Chris Maloney and John Chilton and also of Sandy Sheed (1945) were marked with a minute's silence. Sandy was due to have attended the evening, dying suddenly only a few weeks prior to the event. One of our oldest and most enthusiastic alumni, Sandy will be remembered for his impromptu after dinner speeches, great support for Clare and perhaps most of all for his father's small yellow boat club cap. In recognition of this Sandy's widow has generously donated his cap to the boat club and it has been placed in the archives.

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Anniversary Appeal

Nigel Woodcock, the CBC president, writes:

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The 175th Anniversary Appeal started with the aim of achieving a basic level of financial self-sufficiency for the club, in the face of reducing fee income to the college for sports provision. We aimed to race £330,000 to boost the capital value of the Boat Club Trust Fund to a level at which its interest would pay for the day-to-day running of the club. In the week before the Anniversary Dinner in June 2006 we reached the target and pledges now total £380,000. Our success is a tribute to the enthusiasm of our patrons, to the resolve and dedication of the trustees, to the energy of the student members of the organising committee over three successive years, and to the efficient support from the college development team. Above all our success is due to all the donors to the appeal; for their concern to preserve the vigour of Clare Boat Club and for their generous gifts to ensure our future.

Some of us have chosen to donate a single sum to the appeal, and some to spread our donation over a number of years. As a result, the CBC Trustees can plan for the capital value of the Fund to have reached about £1,000,000 by 2009, the date when the University is assuming that the government fee income to colleges will effectively end. The college currently allows interest to be taken from all its trust funds at 3.3% per annum. So, by 2009, the CBC fund should yield annually around £33,000. The current running costs of the club, excluding the cost of the College's maintenance of the boathouse, are approaching £50,000, and the trustees will need to ensure that the remaining £17,000 of costs are found in the same ways as at present: from corporate sponsorship (currently Data Connection), from contributions from partner clubs (Clare Hall BC and Champion of the Thames RC), from Novice Regatta income, and from donations of boats and other equipment.

The trustees are very aware that the value of the Trust Fund is subject to market fluctuations in the College's investment portfolio, and that the projected income from the fund is not guaranteed. They see it as their duty to the club, to consolidate the fund by taking opportunities to enlist new donors, and by encouraging existing donors to continue their support. The trustees also hope that some CBC members will, as in the past, aspire to contributing towards boat purchase; a source of enduring pleasure to both club and donor.

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Memorial booklet

A memorial booklet was compiled containing reminiscences from alumni of their activities at CBC. If you would like a copy, Josh Elias, the Alumni Officer, still has a limited supply, and can be contacted at cbcalumniofficer[at] (Replace [at] with @.)