Eric Carter's Quarter for the Doug Smith Cup - our races have returned, but no speeches or prize giving yet

Racing is back, but Alan Mitchell's Presidential speech still missing. So instead of "the race we missed" presented here is an attempt at "the speech we missed"

James Norton, first Serpentine race winner in fourteen months.

A morning when it seemed wetter out than in!

James Norton won what was the inaugural race of the 2021 season - Eric Carter's Quarter mile for the Doug Smith cup

James Norton won what was the inaugural race of the 2021 season -  Eric Carter's Quarter mile for the Doug Smith cup

James stormed home, followed by Simone Piccoli and Matthew Johnson

James stormed home, followed by Simone Piccoli and Matthew Johnson

It seemed wetter out than in

It seemed wetter out than in

Serpside fashion shoot

Anthony Wood provided some atmospheric photos which capture the mood of the morning

Anthony Wood provided some atmospheric photos which capture the mood of the morning

Handicapper Dani Lobo counting them out. With essential, and well appreciated, assistance from Alan Luckhurst

Eventual winner James Norton making final adjustments for the conditions underfoot - "heavy". I.E. cold, wet and soggy. The club thoroughbreds took this in their stride whilst the rest of us Dobbins floundered.

Puffed-out at the finish - John Tierney, Simone Piccoli, Matthew Johnson, James Norton

Celebratory splashes - socially distanced, of course

Eric Carter, club President 2007 to 2013

Eric joined the club in 1993.  In 1996 Eric won the Winter Competition for the Fettes cup followed four days later by the Christmas Day race for the Peter Pan cup.  A rare "December Double".  Eric has run over twenty marathons, on many occasions accompanying fellow Serpies such as Alan Lacy, Cyril Wood, Gordon Brodie and John Sextone.  Eric was elected club President in 2007.  Due to the unfortunate passing of Alan Titmuss near the end of Eric's three-year term the club invited him to stay in post for a further year, taking advantage of his strong and ever-present leadership qualities.  The requirements of the ongoing management and administration tasks at this difficult time for the club's organisation mean the club AGM of 2011 asked Eric to see through to the end a second three-year term.

Doug Smith, though only a club member from 1956 to 1967 he made a huge contribution to recording the history of the club

Doug Smith joined Serpentine SC in 1956.  Very quickly Doug learnt much about the club and was responsible, along with Alan Titmuss, for putting together our original 1964 book Breaking the Ice to celebrate the club's centenary.  Doug was a sporting gentleman. He only ever complained about his starting mark when it was too good!

When he joined, Doug was already a member of the South London Swimming Club where he was a leading figure.  This cross over is reflective of the long-standing strong and friendly ties between the two clubs - the Serpentine raced on a Saturday morning whilst South London held their races Sunday mid-morning so many took the opportunity for a weekend competitive double hit.   In 1963 Doug was responsible for organising a gala at Tooting Bec open to all London's open water swimming clubs. Only the Serpentine Swimming Club turned up and ever since an annual gala between the two clubs is held in his name each autumn.  Doug was very much involved in charity work, not just within swimming but also with a number of youth clubs in south London.  Doug gained many friends in France for all of his help at the Normandy landings during World War II.  Aside from the cup for the SLSC v SSC gala, both clubs have a Doug Smith race in his memory on their fixture cards.  The Serpentine's race is sponsored by Eric Carter over 440 yards (400m), for which we raced today.

Doug was with our club for just eleven short years and passed away suddenly from a heart attack in 1967. For many decades his widow Rene continued to bake her delicious bread and brandy pudding for the Tooting Bec gala.

Some previous winners of Carter's Quarter

Some previous winners of Carter's Quarter

Emmi Hunte, 2006

2017, young Danni Mavra

2018, Liz Hurst (currently residing in the land of clogs, cheese and tulips)

1993 Channel relay attempt

Eric joined the club in 1993 and immediately started training for a Channel relay with fellow Serpies Rosie George, Justin Fahy, Paul Hughes, Jeremy Hunter and Norman Jones.  Sadly the sea conditions, though calm at the start, turned very rough which meant the attempt was cut short 8 miles off Cap Gris Nez.

13 months later Eric was part of a successful Channel relay crossing, September 1994

13 months later Eric was part of a successful Channel relay crossing, September 1994

Messing about with boats

Back at the Serps for a team photo

Back at the Serps for a team photo

Nick Adams, Rosie George (coach), Paul Hughes, Eric Carter, Gordon Brodie, Anthony Howland (plus Lee Williams, not in photo)

15 October 1994, Eric and Alan Titmuss congratulate Mansour Badawi on finishing the Norman Jones 220 yards race

15 October 1994, Eric and Alan Titmuss congratulate Mansour Badawi on finishing the Norman Jones 220 yards race

Some early silverware for Eric - the 1995 George Brutton cup

Some early silverware for Eric -  the 1995 George Brutton cup

1996, Eric did the "December Double" winning both the Winter Competition for the Fettes cup and the Peter Pan cup Christmas morning race

1996, Eric did the

Bill Phipps, Cyril Wood, Bob Kelly (series sponsor), Norman Jones, Eric Carter, Frank Simms (handicapper)

Eric with the 1996 Peter Pan cup plus two proud daughters

Eric with the 1996 Peter Pan cup plus two proud daughters

Christmas Day 2010, ice prevented the race going ahead but could not prevent Eric making his speech

Christmas Day 2010, ice prevented the race going ahead but could not prevent Eric making his speech

Slowly does it

Slowly does it

Christmas 2010

A very quick splash and dash

A very quick splash and dash

Christmas 2010

When not swimming Eric can be found at his fruit and veg stall, Queensway. Every day bar Wednesday and Sunday.

When not swimming Eric can be found at his fruit and veg stall, Queensway.  Every day bar Wednesday and Sunday.

Birthday photo 2020