Commons Make it Two in a Row
The House of Commons comfortably outpaced the House of Lords in the fourth Parliamentary Boat Race, sponsored by Siemens, yesterday afternoon amidst rumours of ‘sabotage’.
Host and crew member Lord Thomas of Gresford OBE, QC, joked afterwards, “Obviously someone had got hold of our fin and rudder and made sure we were rowing in circles – you really can’t trust the Commons!” He went on to congratulate the winners and participating crews in all four races that were held on the 600m course which began at Millbank Pier and ended in front of the Houses of Parliament. Lord Gresford added, “One of the purposes of the day is to raise the profile of rowing in this country. If people supported rowing as they support football and tennis it would be truly magnificent.”
Onlookers were also treated to showdowns between Vesta and Auriol Kensington with the Vesta women’s eight demonstrating their pedigree with a stylish win. The men’s race unfolded into the closest race of the day, resulting in London RC denying Vesta a double victory. London Youth Rowing also fielded crews which included Louis Slingsby, the youngest competitor at 13 years of age. “It was a fun race,” he said. “It was interesting because I row in Putney and there are not so many obstacles there…”
The event succeeded in raising £5000 for two charities – The Stroke Association and the Philip Henman Foundation, which supports young watermen on the river. Appropriately, the afternoon’s activities had opened with a row past by The Company of Watermen and Lightermen with four winners of the famous Doggett’s race on board.
Summing up the Parliamentary Boat Race, Siemens CEO Andreas Goss declared, “It’s a wonderful tradition and, if it’s up to us, the sponsorship will continue for a long, long time. It’s a wonderful setting.”