Jon Benton provided the prizes for the Maggs Memorial Cup

A race recalling an Edwardian "gentleman's gentleman" who joined the club over 110 years ago

Saturday's race was over 100m (110 yards) for the Bill and Ron Maggs memorial cup, with prizes by Jon Benton.  Butler Bill Maggs is recorded as a starter in the Christmas Day race of 1910.  He won the Peter Pan cup in 1920 and again in 1954, aged 71.  Bill continued to race with the club up to the mid-1960s.  Bill's son Ron did not compete in our races but always supported the club and the Maggs Memorial fixture.

Heather Miller won her first club race in very nippy conditions....  water 5c, air 2c (41f/32.2f).

First club silverware for Heather Miller

First club silverware for Heather Miller

(photo: Norman Jones)

A chilly but beautiful lake welcomed the competitors for an 8 o'clock start

A chilly but beautiful lake welcomed the competitors for an 8 o'clock start

(photo: Robert Fisher)

Today's prizes followed a very quaffable theme.

 Today's prizes followed a very quaffable theme.

(photo: Norman Jones)

Race sponsor Jon Benton joined us in 2009.

Race sponsor Jon Benton joined us in 2009.

Note President Rob's valiant, but ultimately unsuccessful, attempt at holding-in his stomach whilst simultaneously smiling. Multi-tasking not a strong point? (photo: Norman Jones)

Today's cup remembers Bill Maggs, a popular member who joined the club over 100 years before Jon

Today's cup remembers Bill Maggs, a popular member who joined the club over 100 years before Jon

1965, with fellow octogenarian Louis Farbe

All ears to hear all about Maggs

All ears to hear all about Maggs

All ears from Heather's fellow competitors as President Rob tells of the background to the Maggs Memorial trophy

Butler Bill Maggs was honoured by the Royal Humane Society in 1913

In 1913 Bill Maggs was honoured by the Royal Humane Society for saving the life of a drowning man.  The Rushden Echo, 31 October 1913 reported "without waiting to remove any clothing, the rescuer Mr W F Maggs immediately jumped into the river and swam to the assistance of the helpless man, brought him to the bank and using the Schafer's method of resuscitation, was able, in about 80 seconds, to bring the rescued man back to consciousness.  The man, Mr Lanesbury of Wilby, soon made a complete recovery."

The Royal Humane Society presented Mr Maggs with a certificate, which read "who did his duty nobly and like an Englishman", and a solid silver pen, suitable inscribed. Bill Maggs, who was employed as Butler to the Hon. Sir.E.Chandos-Leigh. said 'he had only done his duty and what any other similarly placed person would have done."

Maggs won the Peter Pan cup in 1920, and again in 1954, aged 71

Maggs won the Peter Pan cup in 1920, and again in 1954, aged 71

Press report from 1920

Bill Maggs won many trophies during his seven decades with the club

Bill Maggs won many trophies during his seven decades with the club

1926 All Clothes Race

A direct connection with today's membership

Alan Titmuss recalled the following tale in the mid-2000s -

"Recently, a chance remark from Jenny Cleaver, a regular swimmer who comes with her dog Lilly, the one who manages a dip without getting her hair wet, told us that her granny's butler once swam in the Serpentine.  It turned out to be none other than our man Maggs who was also Butler to Edward Simpson, the divorced husband of Mrs Simpson the Duchess of Windsor."

Jenny joined the club in 1993 and, with husband Sir Anthony Cleaver sponsors our summer blue ribbon event -  the Bridge to Bridge race.

For further detail on Bill Maggs and the race history please follow this link to the 2021 "race we missed" report.  The article also takes a looks at the Lido refurbishment of the mid-1990s.

Serpentine Swimming Club

Robin and Dani got proceedings underway

Robin and Dani got proceedings underway

(photo: Norman Jones)

Testing the waters, waiting for their mark

Testing the waters, waiting for their mark

(photo: Robert Fisher)

The first of two races underway

The first of two races underway

(photo: Robert Fisher)

(photo: Norman Jones)

A very close finish

A very close finish

Heather Miller won the first race and performed best against her handicap across both races, so scooped the silverware(photo: Norman Jones)

Shared respect

Shared respect

Or has Peter challenged Heather to "settle-it" with an arm wrestle? (photo: Norman Jones)

Pleased to get out after a very cold swim

Big smiles

Big smiles

(photo: Robert Fisher)

2nd place for Peter Georgiou, South London's finest

2nd place for Peter Georgiou, South  London's finest

(photo: Norman Jones)

Trent Herdman a close 3rd

Trent Herdman a close 3rd

(photo: Norman Jones)

Sammi 4th

Sammi 4th

(photo: Norman Jones)

5th place hug for Deirdre

5th place hug for Deirdre

(photo: Norman Jones)

Charlotte 6th

Charlotte 6th

(photo: Robert Fisher)

Jon joined the club in 2009.  As well as enjoying the competitive fun of club races, Jon also shared the pain of others by completing a number of Channel relays with fellow club members

2011, Jon enjoying a mid-Channel sandwich whilst waiting to swim again. Jon's Channel solo aspirations were cut short by a motor biking injury.

(report compiled by Brian Thomas)