A beautiful late spring morning greeted us for the 110 yard Veterans' race followed by 440 yards in celebration of Alan Titmuss

Paulette Titmuss was joined by three generations of Titmusses to present the cups and prizes

Fiona Campbell led the field to claim the Alan Titmuss cup watched-on by four generations of the Titmuss family.

Rod Newing kicked off the morning by winning the Veterans' race on its return to the traditional spring slot.

Fiona Campbell receiving the cup from Paulette Titmuss

Fiona Campbell receiving the cup from Paulette Titmuss

(photo: Anthony Wood)

A 13 year old Alan Titmuss was introduced to the club by his uncle, Sid Baker, in 1950

A 13 year old Alan Titmuss was introduced to the club by his uncle, Sid Baker, in 1950

Alan on a pedestal, April 1990, having just won the Doug Smith cup. Those who knew Alan will not just remember him as the life and soul of the club, but also its driving motor and energy. You name it he was involved in it. When swimming in the Serpentine was threatened in the 1980s and 1990s due to budget pressures on The Royal Parks (the Health and Safety angle was always a red herring and an easy diversion) it was Alan that led the campaign and went on prime time national television (Nationwide) to be interviewed.

Prior to the Alan Titmuss 400m (440 yard) race those of a certain vintage "sprinted" flat out over 100m (110 yards) for the Brew Bros. Veterans' cup

Prior to the Alan Titmuss 400m (440 yard) race those of a certain vintage

Rod Newing, relatively recently back to racing; definitely back to winning ways. Well done Rod. (photo: Fiona Campbell)

Brew Bros. Ltd. - a club connection dating back to the 1930s

The Brew Brothers operated a car showroom in the Old Brompton Road and presented the Serpentine SC Veterans' cup in 1935.  They continued to have a close connection with the club for many decades.  In the 1970s we used their showroom floor for our AGMs.  Members were somewhat distracted from the deep discussion and debate on club matters by the presence of high-end vintage, classic and modern luxury motors that we could but dream of driving one day.

We still race each year for the Brew Bros. cup, even though there is no longer a family connection.  Until 2018 members had to be over 50 to qualify as a vet.  That changed in 2019 when the qualifying age was raised to 60 at the suggestion of the then committee member, and now club President, Rob Ouldcott.

Sixty is now said to be the new 40.  Maybe some members will soon press to raise the qualifying age to 70 or maybe even 75?  Watch this space.

Titmuss cup winner, Fiona Campbell

Titmuss cup winner, Fiona Campbell

Fiona receiving a cup and prize - she can more often be found on the other side of the lens taking photos of the cup and prize winners

Alan Titmuss, 1936 - 2009. Club Secretary & Treasurer from 1964. President 1986 - 1989.

On leaving school Alan was apprenticed as a bookbinder.  When called up for National Service he was advised by club members with military experience to opt for the Royal Marines “rather than spend two years square bashing and peeling spuds in some other unit”.  After leaving the Marines Alan worked in local authority building departments and studied his way to being a fully qualified architect (RIBA).  Alan took on the combined role of club Secretary and Treasurer in 1964, on the retirement of Bill Reed.  Alan served as President from 1986 to 1989 and also performed the role of Hon. Handicapper during the mid-2000s.

Alan always retained his love of bookbinding, which he continued to practice as a hobby whilst working as an architect.  On retirement from the London Borough of Hillingdon Architects Department Alan taught bookbinding at evening classes.  A true labour of love.

For further detail on Alan's contribution to the club across six decades please follow this link to the 2021 race report.

http://serpentineswimmingclub.com/news/51098/alan-titmuss-cup-15-may-2021

The final 50m, and the pack are hunting down the front markers

The final 50m, and the pack are hunting down the front markers

The finish

The finish

Dani, Robin and Rosie at the end of the board recording the finishers

Brian stood in for President Rob, who was still plodding the Pennine Way

Brian stood in for President Rob, who was still plodding the Pennine Way

Brian welcomed Paulette and three more generations of the Titmuss family and recalled to the gathered crowd Alan's long contribution to the club. He noted that even those who did not remember Alan are today able to appreciate the benefits of his leadership and hard work on behalf of both the club and the swimming public. (photo: Fiona Campbell)

The winner

The winner

Paulette presented Fiona with a copy of the coveted 1964 "Breaking the Ice" book produced to celebrate the club's centenary. The manuscript was written in longhand by Alan and meticulously typed-up by Paulette whilst rocking first son Marc in his cradle with her foot. In 1964 the book was sold for seven shillings and sixpence with all profits going to a charity for disabled swimmers, The Optimists. Such a tradition continues today with the club's connection with the Level Water swimming charity.

Copy of the sleeve note to "Breaking the Ice", 1964

Copy of the sleeve note to

Second home Laure Latham

Second home Laure Latham

(photo: Fiona Campbell)

Boris (no not that one) third

Boris (no not that one) third

Paul Daniels (very definitely not that one) fourth

Paul Daniels (very definitely not that one) fourth

(photo: Fiona Campbell)

Rosie George and Bill Deeley were great friends of Alan

Rosie George and Bill Deeley were great friends of Alan

(photo: Fiona Campbell)

Mary was on water fountain monitoring duties

Mary was on water fountain monitoring duties

The traditional three cheers

The traditional three cheers

Photographer Fiona Campbell warmed up for her Titmuss cup victory by capturing images of the Veterans' race

Photographer Fiona Campbell warmed up for her Titmuss cup victory by capturing images of the Veterans' race

Brian's imperfect dive (ankles not together). (photo: Fiona Campbell)

Rod passing the finish line. (photo: Fiona Campbell)

A happy Rod pauses for the camera. (photo: Fiona Campbell)

Mary was another who decided not to swim back

Mary was another who decided not to swim back

(photo: Fiona Campbell)

Veterans' races have always been part of the club calender

Veterans' races have always been part of the club calender

The start of the 1924 race, when men were men and veterans actually looked like veterans

Four generations of the Titmuss family, plus very close friends and four legged friends, were out in force

Four generations of the Titmuss family, plus very close friends and four legged friends, were out in force

(photo: Anthony Wood)

(photo: Fiona Campbell)

First Serpentine dip for the youngest of Alan and Paulette's great grandchildren

First Serpentine dip for the youngest of Alan and Paulette's great grandchildren

We have a permanent reminder of Alan when we sit outside the changing room drinking tea, eating cake, discussing our handicaps and generally putting the world to rights

We have a permanent reminder of Alan when we sit outside the changing room drinking tea, eating cake, discussing our handicaps and generally putting the world to rights

We owe a debt of gratitude to Rosie George for arranging provision of the bench with The Royal Parks twelve years ago

(Report compiled by Brian Thomas)