Third race in the Emmi Hunte series - 880 yards (800m). Prizes and the Andean cup presented by the Luckhurst family

Marvellous home-produced Kent goodies presented as prizes by John Luckhurst and family

Saturday 21 August saw the third of the four fixtures of the Emmi Hunte series of races swum between February and October over varying distances -  February 55 yards (50m), March 110 yards (100m), August 880 yards (800m) with the final 100 yard (90m) race held in late October.

The Andean cup, first presented in 1987 for a team relay, has been used for the third race of the series since 2016 and now celebrates one of our favourite Serpentine families.

Judith Charman pipped Tory Long and Brian Thomas to win the last half mile race of the season.

There was also a special prize for 22nd place -  read on to find out how a surprised Jamal Saad was rewarded with a Kentish treat.

Judith Charman's first piece of Serpentine silver

Judith Charman's first piece of Serpentine silver

That smile as infectious as ever

The Luckhursts have sponsored this leg of the Emmi Hunte series since 2018.

It was in 2011 that John moved to a new office that, by fortunate coincidence, entailed a journey from Charing Cross station across Hyde Park and the Serpentine.  John's enthusiasm for swimming in the Serpentine spread to the rest of the family who all joined in 2014 (or was it just that they were suspicious of where John was disappearing to on a Saturday morning, and returning with a big smile of satisfaction on his face?).   They have all become dedicated members and regular racers (though of late Katherine has enjoyed quite a few Saturday morning lie-ins).

As a family they have become very involved within the club.  Vice-Captain Alan is very much involved in organising "Team Serpentine" in external events.  John took over the role of organising cup engraving when John Reid moved to Brighton and, with Mike Harris, is slowly cataloguing the club's cups and trophies.  Concerning Mrs Luckhurst, Mr Luckhurst writes: "Linda is one of those quiet, thoughtful, intelligent and beautiful individuals that the Club has so many examples of that I can think of. She is completely sold on the Club and loves the privilege of providing the desserts for the Christmas Party. She has been an exceptional mother to our three children whilst managing life as a busy GP. At the moment she is under super pressure but is coping very well".

The Luckhurst family, minus Mum

The Luckhurst family, minus Mum

Will, Alan, Katherine and John, joined by President Alan Mitchell.

Linda could not be present on Saturday, so here is a photo from two years ago of her with Emmi and the Emmi Hunte cup. Linda is the current holder of the trophy.

Linda could not be present on Saturday, so here is a photo from two years ago of her with Emmi and the Emmi Hunte cup.  Linda is the current holder of the trophy.

John explained that GP Linda could not be with us on Saturday as, on behalf of Bill Gates, she was busy injecting microchips into the arms of the unsuspecting youth of Maidstone.

John gave a very personal speech outlining what the club meant to him and his family. He referred to the club's adopted charity, "Level Water" and how from personal experience he saw the importance of all children being able to swim. John also named a number of club members who work in the NHS and had worked so hard over the past 18 months to help us all.

Katherine, Will and Alan have all been members of the country's oldest swimming club - no, not the Serpentine

Katherine, Will and Alan have all been members of the country's oldest swimming club -  no, not the Serpentine

Despite what it says on The Royal Parks' website, the Serpentine SC is not Britain's oldest swimming club, though as our fixtures continued through both world wars we may have stayed operational and competitive the longest.. The honour for the oldest swimming club goes to Maidstone Swimming Club, established 1844, twenty years before us and 16 years before Brighton SC. That said, they are very much a "pool club" and ceased to be an "all year round outdoor swimming club" many, many decades ago.

Courgettes, tomatoes, apples (and fresh pressed apple juice), various varieties of squash plus eggs, all from the Luckhurst Garden of England, filled each "goody-box"

Courgettes, tomatoes, apples (and fresh pressed apple juice), various varieties of squash plus eggs, all from the Luckhurst Garden of England, filled each

(many thanks go to Fiona Campbell for her photographs of the morning)

Come in Number 22, your prize awaits

A randomly generated number (i.e. the average age of the Luckhurst little ones) resulted in a prize for the 22nd swimmer home.

A very surprised and ultimately delighted Jamal Saad collected his first ever swimming prize at the Serpentine

A very surprised and ultimately delighted Jamal Saad collected his first ever swimming prize at the Serpentine

So what is the history of the Andean cup?

Established in 1985, the principal aim of the Andean Project was "to enable research to be carried out into the ability of the plants of the Atacama Desert to thrive at different altitudes, and to develop their medicinal and nutritional potential".  The end goal was to provide assistance to the indigenous people of this part of the Andes to develop sustainable farming practices.

On a bright but cold May morning in 1987 Patricia and Ivor (Bill) Vincent plus what seemed like half the Chilean Embassy gathered to see the first annual Andean cup relay competition.

Patricia was born in Welwyn Garden City in 1925 but grew up in Buenos Aires where her father was a civil engineer.  Patricia dated her interest in desert gardens from the age of four when she was presented with a small plot of desert land.  Patricia's husband and fellow devotee to the Andean Project (and to the Serpentine Swimming Club) was a retired British diplomat named Ivor Francis Sutherland Vincent, though Pat and all her friends at the Serpentine always knew him as Bill -  no idea why!

Sadly Bill died in 1994, but Patricia carried on the work in Arica splitting her time between London and Chile until Patricia's own illness meant she had to ask for the Project to be closed down in late 2009.

In January 2010 the Government of Chile conferred on her the Order of Bernardo O’Higgins in the grade of Knight Commander (Comendador) for the valuable contribution she had made to the development and preservation of the flora and fauna of the Chilean Andean region.  Just before Patricia left the UK for the last time she visited us at her beloved Serpentine to watch the Saturday morning race.  It is a testament to Pat's powers of persuasion that the taxi driver brought the black cab down to the Lido for her to view proceedings.

Patricia died on 23 May 2011 in her own bed in her own flat in Arica, Chile, in the country in which she wanted to end her days.

(source for the above is my own recollections of Pat and Bill, plus "The Clarion, October 2011 -  the parish magazine of St Mary the Boltons).  Brian Thomas

With Patricia spending more time in Chile her friend and fellow Serpie Barney Miller took over the prize giving for the Andean Project relay, which had become a 4 x 220 yard event in high summer.

With Patricia spending more time in Chile her friend and fellow Serpie Barney Miller took over the prize giving for the Andean Project relay, which had become a 4 x 220 yard event in high summer.

Barney was always very liberal with post race provision of pisco sour, a cocktail of Andean origins.

2011, Steph Cox (now Mrs Hill, Colin's better half) enjoyed the pisco sour.

Handicapper Mark Fabik herding cats in order to get the 2011 relay off to a flying start

Born in California but brought up in Buenos Aires, Barney represented Argentina at cricket.  Barney never let-on just what was the standard of cricket and against which teams the matches were played, but at least the Serpentine Swimming Club can claim to have had an international cricketer in our ranks.  Barney was also a member of the MCC and on certain Saturday's in summer would don his "bacon and eggs" tie after the race before heading off to Lords.

Follow this link for a report on the 2011 Andean project relay:

http://serpentineswimmingclub.com/news/50323/uruguay-win-andean-project-relay

Barney stood down from sponsoring the Andean relay after the 2011 race.  The relay event was dropped from the calendar, but in 2016 the cup and its memories were "repurposed" for the third race in the Daily Telegraph series, which itself has now been repurposed as the Emmi Hunte series.

Barney passed away in early January 2020, aged 90.  MIke Olizar and Brian Thomas represented the club at the memorial service.  It was then that we discovered that Barnie had been awarded an OBE  in the mid 1990s for his role in Anglo-Argentinian relations.

Film maker and long term club member Ian Stuttard started sponsoring the third race of the Telegraph series in 2013.

Film maker and long term club member Ian Stuttard started sponsoring the third race of the Telegraph series in 2013.

Ian was renown for his "interesting" prizes

After four years of not being used, in 2016 a new "home" on the fixture calendar was found for the Andean cup - Ian's race

After four years of not being used, in 2016 a new

Despite the pained expression, Ian could always be relied-on to deliver a heart felt speech to his friends and fellow racers

2016, the future club President was the first individual to win the cup. Ian stood down from sponsoring the race in 2017. The Luckhurst family were invited to step in the following year.