A race in memory of Clary Reed, who joined the club in 1910 and the young whippersnapper Alan Lacy, who joined as recently as 1948

Leanne victorious for a second time, having previously won the cup in 2009

Another bright but chilly morning (water 9c, air 6.5c) saw many of us struggle with 200m (220 yards) of breaststroke in memory of Alan Lacy and Clary Reed.

First home was Leanne Ashrafian, followed by Victoria Rock and then Deirdre Ward.

A big turnout from the Lacy family, who presented some very useful prizes.

Alan Lacy, 1941.

Alan Lacy, 1941.

Aged 17, Alan lied about his age and volunteered for the RAF. Alan became a member of the "Caterpillar Club", having baled out of a stricken Wellington bomber.

Alan Lacy sponsored a spring race over 220 yards for the best part of 60 years.  Originally a freestyle event the opportunity to change this to a breaststroke race arose in 1982.  Alan grabbed this with both hands as it meant he would not have to race the stroke he said he found "unfathomable".  Another fixture card juggle in 2001 meant the Clary Reed cup was happily allocated to Alan's race.  Alan had a very close connection with Clary, who invited him to join the club in 1948.  Clary was revered within the club as the man who ensured the club's continuing survival during the difficult days of WW2 when many members were away on active and national service.

Alan was always very keen that Clary's memory and the debt owed him by the club would never be forgotten.

Today we raced for the Clary Reed cup.

Today we raced for the Clary Reed cup.

Clary Reed (seen here in 1912) is credited with keeping the club functioning during WW2

Norman Jones had the honour of welcoming the Lacy family and speaking about Alan's 72 years with the club (1948 to 2020)

Norman Jones had the honour of welcoming the Lacy family and speaking about Alan's 72 years with the club (1948 to 2020)

Daughters Sue and Jane, one granddaughter Clara (Flora away) plus friend Chris (photo: Fiona Campbell)

First home Leanne Ashrafian repeated her 2009 success

First home Leanne Ashrafian repeated her 2009 success

Leanne served on the committee from 2017 to 2021, where her level headed approach to life proved invaluable. (photo: Fiona Campbell)

Victoria Rock sneaked in second

Victoria Rock sneaked in second

Victoria is our current Treasurer. (photo: Fiona Campbell)

Deirdre Ward, third place

Deirdre Ward, third place

Deirdre is our current club Captain. (photo: Fiona Campbell)

A bright but chilly spring morning

A bright but chilly spring morning

For some, one of the most difficult races of the year. For Dani Lobo, definitely one of the most difficult to handicap. (photo: Jan Farmer)

James, Lorraine and Deirdre listening to memories of Alan

James, Lorraine and Deirdre listening to memories of Alan

(photo: Fiona Campbell)

The traditional three cheers

The traditional three cheers

(photo: Fiona Campbell)

Lacy family group photo

Lacy family group photo

(photo: Fiona Campbell)

In 1963 Alan Titmuss penned the following portrait of Clary Reed

Clary Reed, father of the (1963) Club Secretary, did perhaps more than any other man in the long history of the Club to keep things running smoothly during the most difficult period of the war, devoting nearly half a century of life to Club affairs. He joined the club in 1910 and was always a regular competitor up until the age of seventy-five. A splendid diver, he never lost his agility and even in his seventies could still execute a very neat dive from the springboard (which existed up until the mid-1960s).  In 1933 he took over the duties of handicapper from his old friend Fred Houghton and from then until the outbreak of World War II was always first to arrive at the lake, where he would take his own dip first before setting about the task of organising the races and making suitable adjustments to the handicaps. Occasionally such adjustments were made in the form of a reprimand to a member, and adverse criticism of the handicapping would usually mean an extra three seconds handicap for next time.

With ·the outbreak of war, a large proportion of the Club members went into service and Clary found himself acting as General Factotum, incorporating the duties of Secretary, Treasurer, Handicapper, and ' any other office that needed filling. He was determined that the club should survive.  Even through the darkest days and in spite of the heaviest air raids, strikes and all the other problems during wartime.  Clary could always be counted upon to be first at the lake, even though the field was sometimes reduced to a mere half a dozen competitors. Cheerful and kind-hearted, he was a great inspiration to others and on one occasion staggered down to the lake with a sack full of prizes on his back.

When the war ended and old members returned once more, Clary's devotion was rewarded.  Realising his ambition of getting the club back onto a sound footing he decided it was time to relax a little, and in 1948 reluctantly resigned as secretary handing over to his son, C.W. Reed, who continued to carry on his father’s tradition.

In his late seventies, Clary's health began to fail and in 1952 he passed on his handicapping duties to Arthur Goffrey, but continued to take an interest in Club affairs until his death in 1956. He will be remembered with esteem and affection as a man of integrity, and a loyal and true friend. 

Clary won the Veterans' All Clothes Race, 1928

Clary won the Veterans' All Clothes Race, 1928

The newspaper cutting indicates he also won the previous week's race

With the family's permission, Lorraine Jones kindly provided this 2020 (February?) footage of Alan and his recollections of the RAF and the club

Alan Lacy's tip to avoiding trouble in the war - pretend to be Polish!

Early in his RAF career Alan was stationed at RAF Northolt alongside a Polish squadron

Alan Lacy on RAF attire standards

Alan commenting on Will Luckhurst's smart turnout

Alan Lacy on how he ended up as a SSC member

Alan joined in 1948, just after the birth of his first child

Alan Lacy, 1923 - 2020

Alan Lacy, 1923 - 2020

Aged 66, Alan completed his first London Marathon in 1990