880 yards (800m) scratch race for the club championship and the Arthur Goffrey cup

Jesse Kelly crowned club champion - nothing new for the Kellys: brothers Sean and Duff and nephew Cameron are all previous champions. Still no President's speech though, so more pictorial memories.

Covid fixture suspensions meant we missed the previous 55 yard, 110 yard, 220 yard and 440 yard scratch events of the five-race series.  For 2021 the club champion was decided by the series's final 880 yards (800m) race.

Jesse Kelly was followed closely by Anita Goyos, Rob Ouldcott and Nick Adams.  Jesse received the Arthur Goffrey cup, in memory of a true gentleman, past President (twice) and Hon. Handicapper for thirty years from 1952.  "The water is like wine, my boy, like wine".

Arthur Goffrey 1904 - 1992

Arthur Goffrey 1904 - 1992

Arthur seen here in 1935 winning the Gilbert Varley cup

Arthur Goffrey, one of the club's true gentlemen

Memories and recollections by Brian Thomas

Those of us who remember Arthur recall a most kindly chap, one of nature's gentlemen.  He was club President when “the class of ‘67” joined the swimming club -  Bill Deeley, Mike Olizar, Peter Larrad and myself, Brian Thomas.  Arthur was club President twice, in 1965-68 and 1977-80.  Arthur took over the role as club handicapper in 1952 when Clary Reed stood down.  He continued in this role through to the mid-1960s, and still provided handicapping assistance and cover through to the early 1980s.

 Arthur was a great friend of Alan Titmuss and was part of the group of club members affectionately known as “the Harrow mob” -  Arthur plus Alan Titmuss, Teddy Bennion, Maurice Ferris, and Jack Baker (Alan Titmuss’s uncle).

Our records show he joined the Club aged 29 in 1934.  He served in the Royal Artillery 1939-45 in the UK, France and Germany, landing in France a few days after D-day.  Most of his working life was spent with a well-known firm of wholesale silk and fabric merchants which involved buying trips to Europe.  On retirement he worked for a few years at Harvey Nicholls in the Antiques department.  Apart from the Serpentine his other great interest was cricket, both as a player and a spectator, as well as been an avid fan of Chelsea football club.  He must have been greatly pleased from on high on Saturday night.

When asked, as people would, “what’s the water like today Arthur?” his predictable response was always, “like wine my boy, like wine”.  Whilst club Secretary I was interviewed in the studio of the BBC Radio 4 Today programme on Christmas Eve morning, 2009.  I was determined to honour Arthur by working it in.  When I did, it rendered Jim McNulty and John Humphreys speechless!   Perhaps we should make it compulsory that any club official must use this quote when interviewed on national media?

An interview with Arthur whilst swimming was part of the BBC’s Man Alive documentary recording 24 hours in the life of Hyde Park.  It was filmed in summer 1971 and first aired on TV on 15 December that year.  Hopefully this link will take you to the Lido snippet of the documentary. 

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00t6cvm

A very cold October

Hon. Handicapper Arthur Goffrey oversaw the 1964 Centenary race, swum in Victorian costume.

Hon. Handicapper Arthur Goffrey oversaw the 1964 Centenary race, swum in Victorian costume.

Frank Simms and Dave Milne also became club handicappers

Hon. Secretary Bill Reed assisted Arthur as race judge

Hon. Secretary Bill Reed assisted Arthur as race judge

Arthur would carefully weigh contestants clothing for the All Clothes Race to ensure the minimum 6lbs was met.

Arthur would carefully weigh contestants clothing for the All Clothes Race to ensure the minimum 6lbs was met.

The 1960 race

Jesse Kelly, 2021 club champion

Jesse Kelly, 2021 club champion

Brian Thomas stood in for Arthur's daughter Judy Thayer to present the cup (socially distanced of course)

Brian Thomas stood in for Arthur's daughter Judy Thayer to present the cup (socially distanced of course)

Judy is one of Arthur's two daughters and has regularly attended the championship race over the decades. Judy was sorry to miss the race and sends her love and best wishes to all at the club.

No Brian, your name is not on the cup. Maybe 40 odd years ago you might have sneaked in fifth or sixth, but even that is debatable.

The Kelly family sponsor the Winter competition. Arthur is pictured here in 1975 receiving a prize from Jesse's dad, Bob.

The Kelly family sponsor the Winter competition.  Arthur is pictured here in 1975 receiving a prize from Jesse's dad, Bob.

The race was a non-handicapped "scratch" start with all competitors starting in the water to ensure social distancing and no crowding on the board

The race was a non-handicapped

50m into the race and the front markers are stretching away

Some coming up to half way whilst others head down the lake towards the final turn

Some coming up to half way whilst others head down the lake towards the final turn

It's that hat again

Rosie George counting them in

Rosie George counting them in

Relaxing at the finish

Relaxing at the finish

President Alan Mitchell pondering over the missing speech

President Alan Mitchell pondering over the missing speech

For many years the club champion's name was added to a championship shield.

For many years the club champion's name was added to a championship shield.

1930 champion A Jones held aloft

1663 champion David Peckham held aloft by his father, Jack, and Alan Titmuss

1968 champion, Tony Radford. A few years later Tony also became the 100m ASA Southern Counties champion. Though he has not raced with us since moving away in the mid 1980s, Tony is still a member and joins us every year present prizes for his one mile race.

From the early 1970s the club champion received a memorial cup named after Gilbert Varley. Gilbert was an early member of the club and club President from 1926 - 1933. There was a major change to the format of the club championship in the mid 1970s. Rather than a one-off 880 yard race the club championship was decided over five races to reflect "all the weathers" in which we compete - 55 yards, 110 yards, 22 yards, 440 yards culminating in the 880 yards in high summer.

From the early 1970s the club champion received a memorial cup named after Gilbert Varley.  Gilbert was an early member of the club and club President from 1926 - 1933.  There was a major change to the format of the club championship in the mid 1970s.  Rather than a one-off 880 yard race the club championship was decided over five races to reflect

1976 champion John Perkins receiving the cup from President Alan Lacy. Watching on are previous champion Tony Radford and future champion Sean Kelly

1984 champion Peter Larrad receiving the Gilbert Varley cup from Arthur Goffrey, watched on by club President Bob Kelly and Tommy Carmody. Tommy appears in the photos from the 1935 race, above.

In 1986 the championship was a tie between Peter Larrad and Norman Jones

From 1995 Arthur's daughter Judy Thayer has presented the club champion with the Arthur Goffrey memorial cup.

From 1995 Arthur's daughter Judy Thayer has presented the club champion with the Arthur Goffrey memorial cup.

1996, a young Nick Adams retained the trophy.

2004, Nick Adams again champion, with President Roy Wrey plus members of the Goffrey family

2017 winner Cameron Kell with Uncle Jesse, Saturday's winner.

2018, Nick champion again. With Judy and Norman Jones, stepping in for President Robin.