Andean Trophy race cancelled due to blue-green algae

We miss out on the chance of competing for the Luckhurst family's plant based prizes from the Garden of England

Blue-green algae still prevents us swimming in the lake.

The 800m race would have been the third in the four race "Emmi Hunt series" of races swum between February and October over varying distances -  February 50m (55 yards), March 100m (110 yards), August 800m (880 yards) with the final 90m (100 yard) race held in late October.

The Andean cup first appeared on our fixture list as a relay event in 1987.

The Andean cup first appeared on our fixture list as a relay event in 1987.

The Andean cup was donated by club members Bill and Patricia Vincent in 1987 as part of their charity work with indigenous people of the Atacama desert, Chile.

The Luckhurst family have sponsored what is now a 800m race since 2018

The Luckhurst family have sponsored what is now a 800m race since 2018

Always tasty prizes

An integral part of the Serpentine extended family

John Luckhurst joined the club in September 2010.  A new office location fortunatley entailed a journey from Charing Cross station across Hyde Park and past the Serpentine.  John also "persuaded" oldest son Alan to also sign up at the same time.  John's enthusiasm for racing in the Serpentine spread to the other family members, who joined in 2014.  Perhaps they were puzzled as to where John and son were disappearing on a Saturday morning and returning with a big smile of satisfaction on there faces?  They have all become dedicated members and regular racers (though of late daughter Katherine has enjoyed quite a few Saturday morning lie-ins).

As a family they have become very involved within the club.  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, has been busy 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. She is completely sold on the club and loves the privilege of providing the desserts for the SSC Christmas party. She has been an exceptional mother to our three children whilst managing life as a busy GP".

Both Alan and Will Luckhurst have been crowned club champions in recent years -  In fact Alan currently holds that honour for 2023.  Alan, Will and Katherine have previously been competitive pool swimmers with Maidstone Swimming Club.  It should be noted that, despite what is says on The Royal Parks' website, the Serpentine SC is not the oldest swimming club in the country.  That honour goes to Luckhurst's old club, formed in 1844, some 20 years before ourselves and 16 years before Brighton SC.  That said, Maidstone SC long ago ceased to be an all-the-year-round outdoor swimming club and for many, many decades have been an indoor pool outfit.

The family, minus Linda, plus President Alan Mitchell

The family, minus Linda, plus President Alan Mitchell

August 2021. John explained that GP Linda was not available as, on behalf of Bill Gates, she was busy injecting microchips into the arms of the unsuspecting youth of Maidstone.

Here she is in 2019, with cup winner Paul Daniels.

Here she is in 2019, with cup winner Paul Daniels.

John desert ready?

The boys have both been making Mum and Dad very proud in recent months

Pilot Officer Will Luckhurst graduated from RAF Cranwell in June

Friday 21 July, Alan completed a solo swim of the English Channel in a time of 13 hours and 29 minutes.

He was presented with his Channel Chart the following week at the Serpentine.

Bill and Patricia Vincent donated the Andean cup to the club in 1987

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 of us at the Serpentine always knew him as Bill -  no idea why!

Sadly Bill died in 1994, but Patricia carried on the work in Arica, northern Chile, 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

16 May 1987, the first event

16 May 1987, the first event

We even made it into the Sunday papers (Patricia could be quite persuasive)

In the 2000s Patricia was spending more and more time in Chile, so 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.

(report compiled by Brian Thomas)