8 o'clock Saturday morning would have seen us swimming for the Maggs Memorial cup over 110 yards (100m) with prizes donated by Jonathan Benton.
Butler Bill Maggs is recorded as a starter in the Christmas Day race of 1910. He won the Peter Pan cup in 1920 and again in 1954, aged 71. Bill continued to race with the club up to the mid-1960s.
Bill won the All Clothes Race in 1926
Honoured by the Royal Humane Society, 1913
In 1913 he was honoured by the Royal Humane Society for saving the life of a drowning man. The Rushden Echo, 31 October 1913 reported "without waiting to remove any clothing, the rescuer Mr W F Maggs immediately jumped into the river and swam to the assistance of the helpless man, brought him to the bank and using the Schafer's method of resuscitation, was able, in about 80 seconds, to bring the rescued man back to consciousness. The man, Mr Lanesbury of Wilby, soon made a complete recovery."
The Royal Humane Society presented Mr Maggs with a certificate, which read "who did his duty nobly and like an Englishman", and a solid silver pen, suitable inscribed. Bill Maggs, who was employed as Butler to the Hon. Sir.E.Chandos-Leigh. said 'he had only done his duty and what any other similarly placed person would have done."
1920 Christmas handicap list published in the press
Peter Pan cup race report. Sadly no photographs.
"On the board", 1930
Another race captured by the press, June 1930.
Bill won the Peter Pan cup for a second time, in 1954. Sadly no photos, again.
Maybe not the 1954 Christmas race, but it is the early 50s
Bill Maggs carried on swimming into his 80s. Seen here with fellow octogenarian Louis Fabre, circa 1965.
In the early 2000s Alan Titmuss reported this tale
"Recently, a chance remark from Jenny Cleaver, a regular swimmer who comes with her dog Lilly, the one who manages a dip without getting her hair wet, told us that her granny's butler once swam in the Serpentine. It turned out to be none other than our man Maggs who was also Butler to Edward Simpson, the divorced husband of Mrs Simpson the Duchess of Windsor."
Following the death of Ron Maggs, Bill's grandson and Ron's nephew Michael Wood has presented the prizes
1997 saw two future club presidents amongst the prize winners
1996 presentation by Ron Maggs, next to the portacabin we used as a changing room during the Lido refurbishment.
Nick Adams amongst the 1996 prize winners
Whilst on the subject of the 1995/96 Lido refurbishment, here are a few pictures from March 1996.
Since 2018 prizes for the Maggs Memorial have been supplied by Jonathan Benton
The June 2011 relay team's progress and achievement was reported on the club website as follows:
"The swimming squad members included Jonathan Benton, Alan Mitchell, James C.W. Norton, Tory Thorpe, Erika Norris and Peter Impey. Other members of the team are Helena Price, Jeremy Cavanagh, Nick Adams, Kristy McIntyre and Anne McAlpine Leny.
"Thanks to Eddie Spelling, a CS&PF pilot who navigated the way across Le Manche for the six-man relay team.
"The day started foggy and damp, as yet again, the continent was cut off from England. They set off on board ‘Anastasia’ from Shakespeare beach at 7.48am on the first tide of the day on Sunday. First into the water was Erika who swam at a strong pace whilst the rest relaxed. Alan, a veteran of the French landing in 2010, settled in with a cup of hot chocolate.
"By 08.50, Peter was second into the water. Tori and James and Jon also had good swims. By 1.20pm. Alan, who was sixth into the water, swam strongly across the separation zone.
"By 1.43pm, and over half-way and well into French waters, Erika was getting ready for her second swim. By 2.20pm, ‘Anastasia’ and the team were in the second shipping lane. Erika was going strongly and had the sun shining kindly on her.
"By 5.08pm, Peter was doing well despite a strong sewage whiff. Not the sort of French soil which the team were chasing.
"Shortly later, the French could breathe a sigh of relief as the fog had lifted and the continentals could once again see England. Meanwhile in the water, the swimmers had France in their sights. Tory got out and James was back in and doing well.
"Around 6pm, and with France looming closer, Captain Jon was getting ready for his last swim. After 6pm, there was about 3/4 of a mile to shallow waters. France was getting metaphorically bigger by the minute and whilst you couldn’t see the Eiffel tower, the sense of anticipation was felt by all. The sun shone and Jon was going strongly. Around 6.34pm, Jon was sprinting to get the team to the shallows before the tide turned. Alan was getting ready to strike for French soil. By 6.42pm, there was one and a half miles to go to the beach.
"At 6.54pm Alan got in for what we thought was the last stretch. At this time, the French evening bugs tackled the team on the boat. At 7.36pm, the current pushed Alan around Cap Gris Nez so swimmer one Erika had to go once more.
"By 8.09pm, Erika was swimming strongly for land and the dinghy had been launched to guide her to shore. Around 8.21pm Erika reached the shore and was met by an audience of French well-wishers who had gathered to greet her as she made her way up the ramp by La Sirene restaurant. A big and genuine merci to those who were there.
"The team crossed the English Channel in 12 hours and 32 minutes and six seconds.
"Our chosen charity, the RNLI, run 24/7 search and rescue operations, operate 160 lifeguard stations and encourage sea and beach safety across the 19,000-km coastline of the UK. The RNLI doesn’t just help those at sea (including Channel swimmers), but also people who get in difficulty in the Thames. Even with volunteers, it costs £400,000 per day to operate the RNLI. They conduct awe-inspiring work which we truly believe in and want to support."