The Christmas spirit of recent past, distant past and very distant past

The Serpentine Swimming Club's Christmas morning handicap is swum over a 100 yard course for the Peter Pan Cup.  The club's Christmas Day race has been held every year since 1864.  In the early years it was customary for the winner to be presented with a medal.  Author J M Barrie became associated with the Christmas Day race in 1903 when he first donated a Peter Pan Cup.   This coincided with the play Peter Pan's debut on the London stage.  Barrie continued to present a cup for the winner each year up to 1932.  The honour then fell to Albert Greenbury, a dedicated member since 1911 who served as club president from 1935 to 1955.  To this day the Greenbury family continue the tradition.  Albert's granddaughter, Lucy Harris, is a current member and races all through the year.
 

Christmas Day race, 1897

Christmas Day race, 1897

The club on Christmas morning, 1911

The club on Christmas morning, 1911

Arthur Hester won the race in 1889.

Arthur Hester won the race in 1889.

A race is swum in Arthur's memory each July, sponsored by great grandson Bobby Baxter

1911, the race finishes

1911,  the race finishes

1911 presentation to winner A C Fear

1911 presentation to winner A C Fear

Sir James Barrie

Sir James Barrie

Sir James continued to present a Peter Pan cup up to 1932

1913, George Gyton first home

1913, George Gyton first home

The 1917 race was postponed due to ice and swum in January

The 1917 race was postponed due to ice and swum in January

1917 winner 14 year old N Blunstone

1917 winner 14 year old N Blunstone

1930 A Stonyer the winner

1930 A Stonyer the winner

Albert Greenbury

Albert Greenbury

Albert was one of three brothers who joined the club in 1911. A solicitor by profession he became President in 1935 and remained in office until his death in 1955. A devoted servant of the club, he excelled in other sports besides swimming, being champion of his tennis club for 20 years. The trophies he won were proudly displayed to clients in a show-case at his city office, with the Peter Pan Cup won in 1929 taking pride of place. The family continue to present a Peter Pan Cup to this day.

1950 Tommy Basset

1950 Tommy Basset

1951 Arnold Smith

1951 Arnold Smith

Loius Farbe, top, continued to swim up to the early 1970s

1952 Sam Swain

1952 Sam Swain

Alan Titmuss won the 1963 100th race.

Alan Titmuss won the 1963 100th race.

Postponed due to ice and swum on 4 January

Club champion Tony Radford won the 1967 race

Club champion Tony Radford won the 1967 race

A frosty start to the 1970 race

A frosty start to the 1970 race

L to R: Bob Kelly, Brian Thomas, Alan Woodward (about to dive), Bill Harman, Len Fabien, Mario McClarnon, Alan Lacy, Arthur Goffrey, Sam Youlton, Nick Smithers, Maurice Ferris, Sid Levy

Edward Greenbury presents the 1970 cup to winner Nick Smithers

Edward Greenbury presents the 1970 cup to winner Nick Smithers

1980 winner Ashwyn Pandya made the local press

1980 winner Ashwyn Pandya made the local press

Ice greeted us in 1981

Ice greeted us in 1981

Mike Olizar won the February re-scheduled 1981 race

Mike Olizar won the February re-scheduled 1981 race

Piper Mario McClarnon the 1983 winner

Piper Mario McClarnon the 1983 winner

1983, club members on Christmas morning

1983, club members on Christmas morning

1988 and Japanese TV are reporting lakeside

1988 and Japanese TV are reporting lakeside

1988, on the board

1988, on the board

1988 and the race is on

1988 and the race is on

1988 winner Peter Larrad has swum every Christmas morning since 1967

1988 winner Peter Larrad has swum every Christmas morning since 1967

1991 winner Norman Jones

1991 winner Norman Jones

Ever present Norman was club president 2013 to 2016, which included our 150th anniversary year

2002 Winner Nick Adams

2002 Winner Nick Adams

Nick swam the 100 yards in a club record 57 seconds. Not bad considering the water was a strength sapping 5.5c.

2002 Second home was Yoko.

2002 Second home was Yoko.

Yoko is flanked by Val and Stephen Greenbury. Sadly, Val passed away in the summer and is sadly missed.

2003 race won by Alan Lacy

2003 race won by Alan Lacy

Alan won the centenary Christmas race in 1964

2010 was the last time the race was postponed due to ice

2010 was the last time the race was postponed due to ice

Bill and Andrew Deeley

Michael Wynn glides past the ice

Michael Wynn glides past the ice

2010 and Alan Lacy slowly enters the frozen lake

2010 and Alan Lacy slowly enters the frozen lake

Alan treads water

Alan treads water

Alan Lacy was a member from 1948 until his sad passing in March this year, aged 96.

2010 Eric and Brian have a very quick dip

2010 Eric and Brian have a very quick dip

At least President Eric's post swim speech did go ahead

At least President Eric's post swim speech did go ahead

Frozen 2010. A bit of glamour, plus Nick

Frozen 2010.  A bit of glamour, plus Nick

2018 Venessa and Molly

2018 Venessa and Molly

2018, a rather tired Topo at the finish

2018, a rather tired Topo at the finish

2019, the traditional piper Lechlan gets Mike Olizar motivated

2019, the traditional piper Lechlan gets Mike Olizar motivated

2019 crowds line the bank

2019 crowds line the bank

The 2019 line up

The 2019 line up

With no race this year, 2019 winner Katherine Cselko still holds the Christmas honours

With no race this year, 2019 winner Katherine Cselko still holds the Christmas honours

Katherine leads the Serpentine choristers