ARA Honours David Sherriff
David Sherriff with his Medal of Honour, in the company of Sir Steve Redgrave, Andy Triggs Hodge, Pete Reed and Colin Smith from the GB squad. Photo: Peter Spurrier
The President of the ARA, Sir Steve Redgrave, recognised the outstanding contribution David Sherriff has made to British Rowing when he presented him with the ARA Medal of Honour at Sherriff’s Boathouse, on the Redgrave Pinsent Rowing Lake, Caversham on Tuesday 29 April.
The vision for the 2000m rowing course at Caversham came from Sherriff who spent 25 years on the project. Sherriff’s strategy was to buy up small parcels of land and relocate his 300 berth Marina to make way for the rowing centre. He also worked actively to secure planning permissions for the extensive project.
Ultimately, this has meant a seven-figure contribution from one of the sport’s biggest philanthropists. Sherriff told the rowers that his experiences as a teenager had ‘taught me never to give up. It took me twelve years to get planning permission for the first marina on the disused gravel pits, here at Caversham.’
Since it opened in 2006, the Redgrave Pinsent Rowing Lake has provided the perfect training facilities for British Rowing and has already begun to make a significant difference to performances at major events. This year’s Olympic squad train there regularly – as do young squads who have London 2012 in mind – and the senior team were on hand during the medal presentation ceremony.
The overall site has also accommodated other sports and provides an ideal environment for local wildlife.
Sir Steve Redgrave paid tribute to David Sherriff as the driving force behind the project. ‘David has invested an enormous amount of time, effort and financial resource to create this facility for rowers to enhance their preparation for major championships. I wish such a facility had been available to me when I was preparing to compete at World Championships and Olympic Games’.
David Sherriff said, ‘I am delighted to accept your very great honour for doing, what for me, was a lifetime’s dream… I am told both rowers and coaches are delighted with Caversham, and the Lake performs exceedingly well. All in all a great success’.