4 June 2016
After reading the recent post on HTBS by Greg Denieffe, Crewcial Collectables: Cigarettes, Whiskey & Wild Wild Women (and before that, Happiness is Hamlet and Smoke on the Water), Lionel Bailey of Tideway Scullers School dug out an old issue of the Rowing magazine. Lionel writes:
On top is a photograph from 1969 of a crew from the Tideway Scullers, from left to right: me, David Redwood, Rooney Massara, Willy Almand, Guy Greaves (cox), Wayne Smith, Chris Pierce, Mike Tebay and Pat Barry (stroke). We are standing around our new George Sims boat John Player II, which was presented to us by the tobacco firm of the same name. George Sims (Racing Boats) Eel Pie Island was the premier British sweep and sculling boat manufacturer of the day. The crew went on to represent Great Britain at that year’s European Championships, finishing fifth.
The caption for the photo, which was published in the October/November 1969 issue of Rowing magazine, reads:
Tideway scullers rowed at Klagenfurt in John Player II, a lightweight shell built for them in a fortnight by George Sims and presented in August at a Putney ceremony by the tobacco firm, whose generosity towards British rowing is all too little realised.
This was the second boat Player’s had bought for the club, the first one being the John Player, presented in 1966 to the Scullers crew that came fourth in the World Championship of that year, at championships held in Bled, Yugoslavia (now Slovenia). As I have written in the past, the Tideway Scullers School, coached by Lou Barry, were the de facto British National Squad of the 1960s, run on a shoestring and gifts such as the two mentioned above kept the whole enterprise afloat in more ways than one.