Saturday would have seen the third scratch race of the club championship series. This would also have been an opportunity to remember our dear friend Dave Holliday who had presented prizes for this race since the 1990s. Dave sadly died aged 67 on the very day of what would have been his race, at the beginning of the Covid 19 outbreak. Rob and Sarah Ouldcott were to sponsor the prizes if we had gone ahead.
Dave Holliday, 1952 - 2020
A greatly appreciated club member and friend for forty years
In 1980 Tooting Bec Lido was under refurbishment and Dave joined us along with other refugees from South London Swimming Club such as Cyril and Yvonne Wood and John Sextone. Dave was a steady heads-up breaststroker who was always happy to pass chit-chat, discuss the quality of real ale and mull-over the general state of the nation. Dave swam with us regularly up to about 2010, after which he remained an occasional visitor and an annual regular to present his unusual prizes for the Holliday Furlong.
Keen cyclist Dave was a founding member of the London Cycling Campain. He was also very accomplished on the clarinet and would entertain us at Serpentine Christmas parties and summer barbeques over the decades. An Environmental Health Officer by profession, Dave recalled the time a restauranter offered him a bribe to pass an inspection. His reply was "if you pay my wages for the rest of my career, then thank you".
Dave had a son, Oliver, and a stepson Tim through his former partner Barbara. Hopefully some of Dave's family and friends will be able to join us next year for the "Holliday Furlong".
Dave Holliday, 16 August 1952 - 28 March 2020.
1987, Dave watching the prize giving
On 29 February 2020 Dave sent this charming note to Secretary George Cselko
Dave was always very "inventive" with the prizes presented
Inventive prizes - flags and comic glasses in 2009
Dave on clarinet, accompanied by Bill Phipps on nose-flute at the 1985 summer barbeque in Alan Titmuss's back garden
Such a virtuoso performance merited a return invite in 1986
1988 saw Dave able to enjoy the food before performing
2009 and Dave is in deep discussion with Donald, another of our sadly missed Serpentine eccentrics
1991, Dave was amongst a very small field for the All Clothes Race
Exhausted at the finish
Start of Dave's 2012 race
2018 prize winners
1996 winner Nick Adams
Year 2000, Nick was in Australia. Norman Jones was first, followed by speedster ladies Gail Oxley and Maeve Johnson
2000 winner Norman very interested in his prize. Watched on by Lorraine Jones, Patricia Vincent, Wayne Ashpole and Brian Thomas amongst others.
One of the few photos we have of PC Gail Oxley, on the right. Second place in 2000.
Sarah and Rob Ouldcott would have provided the prizes if we had raced
Rob, Sarah and Lily joined the club in 2012 to swim outdoors in non-chlorinated water. (Shame no one thought to mention the biting bugs to them!).
Said Rob recently with respect to greater things:
"It was only when I arrived and heard about the Channel swimming that I became interested. I blame Boris (Mavra) as he had a chat with me about it. Nick (Adams) also persuaded me to sign up.
"Lily’s Channel relay swim was because she was crew on my solo and in her words “that didn’t look too hard”. So I signed her up for a relay.
"Sarah is a devout heads up breaststroke swimmer who does not race, so perfect for the Serps"
Rob's Channel Solo, 14 September 2012
French coast in sight
Rob was presented with a BLDSA award at the CSA dinner the following year
Rob coached Lily and the girls from Camden School to complete a Channel relay on 1 September 2013 in a very respectful time of 13 hours and 10 minutes
Coach and team
Never one for the "usual", Rob was part of a Serpentine team that completed the first ever butterfly relay of the Channel
The Guinness Book of Records said they would recognise the swim if the team completed the relay in under 20 hours. On 10 August 2015 they completed the relay in 19 hours and 15 minutes.