Olympic dinner

A celebration of our four Olympians who made their way to Rio this summer.

A night of celebration and frivolity was to be had last Saturday when DUBC were visited by their four Olympic alumni; Angus Groom, William Fletcher, Stewart Innes and women’s VIII coach James Harris.

The Great Hall within Castle College hosted a grand meal, where past and present members of DUBC congregated.

Guests included the Vice Chancellor of the University, Stuart Corbridge along with guest speaker Robert Gillespie, a DUBC alumnus and Chair of the University Council. He is also the Chairman of the Boat Race Company Limited, the organisation that manages the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race.

The night began with a champagne reception, the venue littered with printed photographs of the Olympians younger years and old group shots of DUBC alumni. GB flags for each Olympian were written on with messages by friends and family.

Current DUBC President William Toogood opened the night, welcoming our alumni and special guests to back to Durham. The Vice Chancellor then spoke on the importance of sport to the University and expressed his congratulations on the achievements of our alumni.

Guest Speaker Robert Gillespie also spoke, reminiscing about his younger years as a member of the boat club. He shared a particular fond memory of racing the Cambridge Blue Boat (and winning!) as well as the drunken antics which followed.

Following dinner, speeches on behalf of each Olympian were undertaken. Angus Grooms’ father presented an emotive account of raising Angus, seeing him grow from a capsizing beginner to an athlete racing at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. Wade Hall-Craggs reminisced over William Fletcher’s journey, reminding attendees that the local lad had been training with the University squad since he was a mere 14-years-old.

Arguably the most entertaining speech was delivered by alumnus John Ford and Lee Fisher, who created a powerpoint presentation revealing the most embarrassing Facebook status’ Stewart Innes shared throughout his university years. Lastly, James Harris’ dad spoke on his son’s undying commitment to rowing and triumph of steering the GB womens eight to a silver medal this summer.

The last formality of the evening included the presentation of the DUBC Olympic Palatinate Blades; one to each newly accredited Olympian. A standing ovation was in order once Vice Chancellor, Stuart Corbridge presented the final blade.

The evening was wrapped up by a raffle with attendees shortly after whisking themselves away from the grandeur of the castle to a wilder venue, the famously renowned Klute nightclub.