Since circa 1965, Warwick has been churning out hundreds of oarsmen and women from its stable of rowing excellence on the river Avon near Barford. In 2002 discussions were started in establishing an Alumni club. We decided that it was high time that a club should be formed to give old rowing friends a chance to meet up, get back in a boat, have some fun, reminisce over a few drinks and maybe even try to compete against the young upstarts of today!
In return, we hope to offer the current students a number of benefits stemming from our age, experience, wisdom (?) and maybe one day our financial resource!
In February 2004 the WGBC (Warwick Graduate Association Boat Club) was formally established and registered as an ARA club. So, in March of that same year, a crack team of 8 one-time formidable athletes gathered on the tideway in Putney to prepare to take on the 7km course in the 'Head of the River' race. The gentle warm-up went superbly. Joints and limbs were creaking back into action with some success! Unfortunately the wind and waves picked up and in the interests of safety the race was called-off. A curious mix of emotion ensued; on the one hand the race that we'd prepared so diligently for over the past hour was just not going to happen. On the other hand, it was 3 o'clock on a Saturday and we were all primed towards channelling our racing aggression into an evening social, which finished unspectacularly in an embarrassing club in Fulham.
Since then, WGBC have rowed at various other events; Bedford regatta in the spring, and Burton and Peterborough regattas in the heat of the summer - all great fun! At Burton 2004, WGBC were represented in more than 15 races over the two-day regatta. But it was the barbecue and trip to the pub on the Saturday night where we really showed our age - with most members of the club too tired to resist returning to their tents before 10pm - shameful.
The 'Head of the River' and 'Peterborough Regatta' have now both become firmly established in the UWBC and WGBC social calendar. In addition, the UWBC annual rowing club ball gives a chance for the old boys/girls to party and show the youngsters how it used to be done before Tony Blair took the grants away!