The race we missed Saturday 17 April - 4th race of the club championship series. 440 yards (400m) for the Cuthbert cup presented by his soulmate and swimming buddy Saundra Satterlee.

Memories of one of the club's great characters and all time All Clothes Race best dressed gentleman

Tony Cuthbert, the man who wrote the club anthem: "In the duck poo, that's what we do, come on in the water's fine.  You are in my heart forever, oh my darling Serpentine".

Tony may never have won the All Clothes Race, but he was certainly always the best presented.

Tony may never have won the All Clothes Race, but he was certainly always the best presented.

Tony Cuthbert, 1941 - 2011

Tony was a real "character", in keeping with the long tradition of our club acting as a magnet to oddness.  Born in 1941 Tony joined the club in 1998, in his late 50s.  His earlier sporting prowess was as a three day eventer.  Unfortunately a hip replacement lead him to quite literally hang up his spurs.   Equine's loss was swimming's gain.  It also left Tony with a very handy choice of outfits for the All Clothes Race.

Tony had a long and successful career in advertising.  Tony Cuthbert Cartoons was responsible for many famous and memorable TV and film adverts -  BT's Buzby, the Babycham fawn, the Foxes' Glacier Mints' polar bear and best of all Kelloggs' Frosties' Tony the Tiger.  Tony also had a strong input into the Beatles' Yellow Submarine film.

Many of us want to believe the club myth that Tony based the tiger character on himself.  Sadly (for our dreams) Kelloggs' Tony the Tiger character first appeared in the early 1950s when Tony would not even have been in his teens.  That said, his TV and cinema campaigns for Frosties brought Tony the Tiger to animated life.  Likewise, the Fox's Glacier Mint polar bear and the Babycham fawn may not have been Tony's original creations but he certainly made them jump out at us from the screen.  Given Tony's work on Yellow Submarine perhaps we should claim him as our very own "fifth Beatle"?

In 1998 Tony was introduced to the club by Mark Fraser, who he met in a bar with work colleagues and agreed after a few drinks to swim the following morning.   Tony was hooked.  The rest, as they say, is history.

Tony won the Bridge to Bridge the following year.  Though Tony was not first to finish the then handicapper Frank Simms managed to disqualify the first swimmer home for reasons no one could ever fathom.  As if by fate, this first swimmer was the man who had fed Tony drinks and convinced him swimming in the duck poo was a cool thing to do: Mark Frazer!

In his first year Tony won the Winter Competition for the Fettes cup, presented by Bob Kelly

In his first year Tony won the Winter Competition for the Fettes cup, presented by Bob Kelly

Bob and Tony

2000, watching a race presentation

2000, watching a race presentation

The cigar was almost ever-present

In 2004 prize winning photographer and club member Andrew Buurman captured this snap of Tony

Tony apparently experiencing a moment of self doubt when delivering a motivational speech to Leanne

Tony apparently experiencing a moment of self doubt when delivering a motivational speech to Leanne

Tony and Alan Titmuss starting on the same handicap

Tony and Alan Titmuss starting on the same handicap

Is that Saundra giving them a start?

Saundra Satterlee, Tony's soulmate and a late to the party swimming buddy

American Saundra Satterlee, Tony's partner of many years, was persuaded in 2000 to join his early morning dips even though she could barely swim.  With much encouragement from other club members and the then handicapper Cyril Wood, she slowly mastered the art of completing first the 55 yard Winter series races, the Christmas Day 100 yard race and then the longer spring and summer races.  In 2002 Saundra became the first woman to win the club's other Blue Ribbon event, the Bridge to Bridge.

Christmas morning, 2005?

1st lady to win one of the club's two Blue Ribbon events - 2002 Bridge to Bridge

1st lady to win one of the club's two Blue Ribbon events -  2002 Bridge to Bridge

With Rosie George and club President Brian Thomas

Saundra was a regular collector of silverwear

Saundra was a regular collector of silverwear

The 2009 Roy Wrey cup. Sadly, in 2006 Roy passed away during his term as club president. Roy's daughter Christine had come from afar for the race.

Mike Small cup sponsorship

In 2001 Saundra and Tony took over sponsorship of the post Christmas "spring series" for the Mike Small cup.  In 2002 Saundra managed to win the series and the cup, though she did decline to accept one of her own prizes.

2002 Mike Small cup presentation

2002 Mike Small cup presentation

Saundra, 2002 victor

Saundra, 2002 victor

End of a heat on the final week of the 2003 series

End of a heat on the final week of the 2003 series

Norman Jones, Alan Nash, Tony Cuthbert and Bill Deeley

2003, the cup was received by series winner Norman Jones on a cold February morning

2003, the cup was received by series winner Norman Jones on a cold February morning

2004 winner, Yoko Reid

2004 winner, Yoko Reid

With club President Roy Wrey

During the "naughties" Saundra and Tony were heavily involved in organising the club's Christmas party

For many years Tony and Saundra took the lead in the Christmas party food and drink preparation.  Tony undertook much delight and relish in his own definition of the term "preparation".  Tony also acted as "master of ceremonies", introducing the acts and leading the sing-song.  It was Tony who penned the ditty that has now become the club anthem -  "In the duck poo" (to the tune of Darling Clemantine).......

In the duck poo, that's what we do,

Come on in, the water's fine,

You are in my heart forever,

Oh my darling Serpentine.

Anyone need tickets?

Anyone need tickets?

Stack 'em high, flog 'em cheap

Master of ceremonies

Master of ceremonies

Tony explaining the chorus of "In the Duck Poo" to the massed ranks

Tony explaining the chorus of

Tony died in December 2011. His character, fun and laughter was a great loss to the club. A slot in the fixture list became available in April 2012 for a 440 yard race dedicated to Tony's memory.

Tony died in December 2011.  His character, fun and laughter was a great loss to the club.  A slot in the fixture list became available in April 2012 for a 440 yard race dedicated to Tony's memory.

April 2012, the first race for the Tony Cuthbert cup

2013 winner Cameron Kelly

2013 winner Cameron Kelly

In 2013 the race distance was halved 220 yards due to the water temperature being only 7.8c (46f). This was positively tropical compared to the previous week's temperature of 3.3c for the Alan Lacy breaststroke race, which itself was halved to 110 yards.

2018 race

2018 race

And Cameron won again

And Cameron won again

A quick, but relevant, diversion - the Tony Cuthbert cup race replaced Maev's Rave

Maev Johnson started racing with the club in 1986, a year after women were able to join as full members.  She had been introduced to the Serpentine Swimming Club by fellow triathlete Julie Howarth, who was a regular swimmer at the time along with her husband Keith.  Maev sponsored a 440 yard spring race from 2001 to 2011.  In the early 2000s Maev moved to France, where she achieved great sporting success.  Maev, with a young family, found it difficult to return every year to present the race prizes and she happily vacated the slot in the fixtures calender for the Cuthbert cup.

Tony's appearance in the All Clothes Race was a magnate for photographers, amateur and professional

Aquatic soulmates