Saturday 26 June saw us race over 880 yards (800m) for an event that has been on the calendar for 60+ years. Sidney and Charlie Greenbury were two of the three Greenburg brothers that joined the club in 1909. The other was Albert, club President 1935 to 1955, whose direct descendants present the Peter Pan cup each Christmas - Albert took over from Sir James Barrie in 1933. A cup in memory of Tommy Bradshaw, who was already a long-standing member when the three Greenburgs joined, has been presented to the winner since 2016.
First home was Yvonne Vanderheul (aka "Squirrel"), followed by Andrew Fuller and Linda Paxton. The Ashrafian family were out in force to present the cup.
Tommy Bradshaw (middle). Winner of the 1926 Winter competition, sponsored by Bovril.
The SS & Chas. M. Greenbury Handicap has been a summer fixture for longer than any club member still living can remember
Yvonne Vanderheul (Squirrel) received the Bradshaw cup and some chocolates (with which 14 month old Ariabella was reluctant to part)
Connections with the 19th century, still alive today.
Tommy Bradshaw of South Norwood was a club member for fifty years, having joined in the 19th century. His journalist son was responsible for getting the Serpentine SC competition results in the national daily newspapers alongside the Test Match score and latest football results. He never missed his dip at 6.00 am in the morning, no matter what the weather. “To swim and keep fit" was his motto. Club records show he recalled one member who was diagnosed by his doctors at the age of 14 years as “an incurable consumptive” yet was winning 55 yards handicaps at the age of 84, only to be found dead in his bath at home at the ripe "young" age of 96 years. Tommy could also tell of the freezing cold winters of 1894, 1895, 1905 and 1907, when the lake was frozen and covered with ice. Members would break the ice themselves before they could have a dip, having cut a path through the snow just to get lakeside. Tommy started swimming when he was 9 years old, teaching himself to swim with the aid of some old stocking legs filled with corks, and went on to win a 'Peter Pan Cup' in 1921.
The 1910 Christmas Day start list shows Tom Bradshaw racing along with all three Greenburg brothers. Possibly the first of a family tradition that is still upheld over 120 years later by Lucy Harris, Albert's granddaughter.
The original surname of Albert, Sidney and Charles was Greenburg. Sadly due to rising antisemitism they chose to change the name to Greenbury in the early 1930s.