On Saturday 10 July we raced 880 yards (800m) in memory of Arthur Hester, winner of the 1889 Christmas Day race.

A race celebrating club family links going back to the 1880s. Current member Bobby Baxter is the great grandson of the 1889 Christmas Day winner.

Robert Fisher was first home, followed by John Luckhurst and Judith Charman.

Club member Bobby Baxter is the great-grandson of "Fulham lad" Arthur Hester, who won the 1889 Christmas Day race.  Arthur was a very involved club member who served on the committee in the early 1890s.  Prior to James Barrie's involvement in 1903 and the initiation of the Peter Pan cup, the winner of the Serpentine SC's Christmas morning race was presented with a gold medal.  Bobby is the custodian of this family heirloom and proudly displays the medal on the occasion of the race.

Robert Fisher, winner of the 2021 Arthur Hester memorial race

Robert Fisher, winner of the 2021 Arthur Hester memorial race

photo: Anthony Wood

Bobby Baxter showing his grandfather's 1889 Christmas Day medal

Bobby Baxter showing his grandfather's 1889 Christmas Day medal

Bobby Baxter followed family history and joined the club in 2008

Arthur Hester was Bobby Baxter's great grandfather who won the Christmas morning race in 1889 at the age of 22.  Prior to the involvement of James Barrie and the presentation of a Peter Pan cup in 1903, the winner of the race was presented with a gold medal.  The medal has been kept in the Baxter family as an heirloom.  It was in 2007 that Bobby made contact with then club Secretary Alan Titmuss, and came along to the club one Saturday morning to show off the medal to members.  Bobby joined the club in 2008 and became a regular for many years up to about four or five years ago.  Personal circumstances have prevented his recent regular attendance.  Unfortunately Bobby could not attend on Saturday, but he does send his love and massive hugs to all at the club.  He does hope to get along for a paddle in the near future.

 

The 1889 Christmas Day winner's medal

The 1889 Christmas Day winner's medal

Having joined in 2008 Bobby was able to race on Christmas morning 2009 - the 130th anniversary of grandfather Arthur's victory. (Plot spoiler - Bobby did not win).

Alan Titmuss managed to find a slot in the fixture calendar for an Arthur Hester memorial race in 2009, in anticipation of the 120th anniversary.  The cup we use for the race is one of the previous Daily Telegraph cups that were bequeathed back to the club, and was introduced in 2014.  This particular Daily Telegraph cup was competed for over nine races across three seasons, 1940, 1941 and 1942 -  three distances each year: 110 yards, 220 yards and the All Clothes Race. 

Christmas party, 2009. Bobby the thorn between two roses - Steph and Jenny

Christmas party, 2009.  Bobby the thorn between two roses -  Steph and Jenny

The three amigos were exceptionally precise in their race supervision

The three amigos were exceptionally precise in their race supervision

Robin precise in his handicap calling; Dani and Rob distracted at the precise moment of the photo by the waft of a bacon butty from the cafe.

Anthony Wood has again provided some atmospheric B&W memories

Volka and chums

Volka and chums

Three close starters

Three close starters

Jesse Kelly having a pondering moment

Jesse Kelly having a pondering moment

And Jesse is off

And Jesse is off

Jan Farmer leading the finishers out

Jan Farmer leading the finishers out

Rob Fisher swam a further 200m and had to be cajoled out of the water with the promise of silverware

Rob Fisher swam a further 200m and had to be cajoled out of the water with the promise of silverware

Club captain Deirdre Ward stood in for Bobby Baxter to present the cup

Club captain Deirdre Ward stood in for Bobby Baxter to present the cup

Out of shot, Stuart Bowman shouts "hold your stomach in, Rob". Rob replies: "but I am doing that already!"

The master at work

The master at work

Bobby's race has been held since 2009; the cup was introduced in 2014. The winner? Rob Fisher, of course

Bobby's race has been held since 2009; the cup was introduced in 2014.  The winner?  Rob Fisher, of course

Sans lockdown facial hair

2017 winner, Sean Kelly

2017 winner, Sean Kelly

2018, Vanessa Mavra victorious

2018, Vanessa Mavra victorious

2018, Bobby showing the 1889 Christmas Day winner's medal

2018, Bobby showing the 1889 Christmas Day winner's medal

2018 also saw us share a tasty, home baked cake to celebrate Linda Paxton and Liz Hurst's Channel relay success

2018 also saw us share a tasty, home baked cake to celebrate Linda Paxton and Liz Hurst's Channel relay success

Linda, about to do the honours

Liz ensured fair shares for all

Our darling Caitlin joined Sean and Digby in eying up the cake

Our darling Caitlin joined Sean and Digby in eying up the cake

Digby getting ready to pounce on his "prey"