Laure Latham captured the silverware, storming past Brian Thomas at the finish of the 200m (220 yards) race.
Past president Norman told stories and memories of Ron Hamill, Ron Miller and his son Andrew. President Rob told stories of Norman and Lorraine.
An international theme to the swim cap prizes
The cup was not available, so substitute silverware stood in for the presentation
One week later, 22 October, and Laure is presented with the actual "Andrew and the Two Ronnies cup"
Sally, Ron Miller's daughter (and Andrew's sister) travelled over from Germany for the race
Half past seven and swans await the swimmers
We were treated to some beautiful eight o'clock autumnal colours
Half past eight, still beautiful
Rob spoke of Norman and Lorraine's long association with the club
Lorraine - a portrait from Rob
Rob Ouldcott spoke with affection of Lorraine's contribution to the club and to life in general. Though primed by Norman, much of the detail was already known to Rob -
Lorraine joined the club along with Norman in 1983. Though not really a Serpentine lake swimmer, Lorraine has played a central role in many club activites, for instance in organising Christmas parties, the Serpentine choir and trips to the seaside. In 2008 Lorraine was part of a Serpentine SC relay team that successfully crossed the English Channel. Lorraine had to swim four times during the 23 hour crossing "suffering from sea sickness the whole time". Most of her training for the swim was undertaken in Lac Annecy under the tutilage of Norman. "As you can imagine it was not always a smooth operation", commented Mr Jones.
Lorraine spent over 26 years working at Hammersmith Hospital IVF Unit. Starting off part-time whilst the children were in school, Lorraine ended up managing the unit full time. She was loved by staff and patients alike in what sometimes could be a very emotional and challenging environment. She was the one on hand to both placate patients and keep doctors in line.
"Although one of the kindest, loving and thoughful people you could meet, she will challenge anyone who she thinks is out of order. After 52 years of marriage I know how true this is" (Norman).
Lorraine's Channel relay team raised money for Afghan Mother and Child Rescue (AMCR), a charity with which Serpentine member Roddy Jones was heavily involved. Anne McAlpine, Clare Doyle, Sophie Rutenbar, and Martha Fray were also part of the team (if I've missed anyone, please let me know). The charity was a small hands-on organisation focussed on building and helping equip Mother and Child Health Clinics in the Panjshir valley region of northeast Afghanistan.
Norman spoke of Andrew, Ron and Ron
Norman had a dip after the presentation, grabbing a quick, warming cuddle from Lewis on the way
Norm the coach, Norm the teacher, Norm the lifeguard trainer, Norm the President, Norm the club champion, Norm the brewer of a fine cup of tea
Stormin' Norman - he's not one to brag, so I will do it for him (with a little help from Mrs Jones)
Norman joined the Club in 1983. He won the Bridge to Bridge in both 1989 and 1994, the Christmas Day Peter Pan race in 1991 and has been club champion multiple times. He was Club President 2013-2016, a current committee member and a vice President. Norman is a highly qualified swimming teacher, being a Fellow of the Institute of Swimming Teachers, a first aid trainer and RLSS lifeguard trainer and assessor. Norman spent much of his teaching and coaching career at Imperial College where he organised and coached students to compete at the National University Swimming Championships. He also coached school teams to win the National Schools Swimming Championships on six occasions. Nowadays Norman can still be found teaching on the poolside at the Charring Cross Hospital Sports Club. Norman has twice been invited to the City of London Guildhall to be honoured by his fellow professional swim teachers and coaches.
Norman and Lorraine met in the late 1960s whilst both were Pontins holiday camp Bluecoats. Should you ask nicely, I am sure Lorraine will share stories of their time working at Pontins. I like the story of Norman the Pontins' lifeguard poolside with his sunburnt nose protected by a strategically balanced cigarette paper.
Lorraine is also a club member and a regular friendly, smiley, chatty presence Serps-side. Lorraine has a marvellous singing voice, as those that have heard the Serpentine choir can testify.
1986 and the club championship was shared with that other club legend, Peter Larrad
Norman won the Bridge to Bridge in 1989. A feat he was to repeat in 1994.
Ron revived by Ron
Complimentary tickets to the Royal Albert Hall
Ron Hammill was a regular swimmer and competitor from the late 1960s through to the 1990s. He was a foreman at the Royal Albert Hall and in this role had a ready access to complimentary tickets. Those for boxing and wrestling matches proved more popular with some club members than those for more ‘highbrow’ cultural events.
As foreman, Ron was responsible for overseeing the careful moving of large grand pianos, harps and other delicate but big musical items.
Long term regular Ron Hamill won the 1982 Clary Reed cup race
Ex-paratrooper Ron Miller ran a local plumbing and central heating company. He was a daily regular at the club throughout the 1980s, 90s and into the 2000s - tea making and general chit-chat a speciality. During days off work (it was his company) Ron would act as "nanny" to Mary Gilbert's children. This accounts for the nickname of Nana, coined by Mary, with respect to the Newfoundland dog in Peter Pan.
Andrew was also a daily regular, though not a regular racer. He was a gifted woodworker who produced many treasured items for his friends. Sadly, Andrew drowned whilst swimming off Brighton beach in 2014. He was in his late-thirties.
Ron Miller made the Evening Standard in 1990, giving his take on the quality of the Serpentine water
Norman, Chester Kozlowski (another Serps' Olympian) and Andrew, late 1980s
(report compiled by Brian Thomas)