Staines Boat Club names a new safety launch
On Sunday 20th September Staines Boat Club named a new safety launch after Alan Choules.
Alan was one of the crew of the The Ashes VIII during the accident at Penton Hook Weir on Sunday 25th April 1971. Following the break-up of the boat, Alan supported the young cox, holding his head above the water. As they went towards the weir Alan lifted him towards a man standing on the weir bridge but could not quite reach far enough and they went through the weir. Several witnesses saw Alan shield the boy’s head as they went through the weir. Below the weir Alan continued to support him until two men rowed a boat out and were able to pull the boy out of the water but by this time Alan himself had disappeared. Alan was awarded a posthumous award from the Royal Humane Society and also a Carnegie Hero Trust Fund Award. He was 29 at the time of the accident and was a local policeman. He was actually known as "Charlie" at the boat club and was described as a fantastic chap. Two other Staines rowers, David Firman and Allan Wickens, also lost their lives in the accident.
Retiring club captain, Craig Twaddle, suggested to the club committee that they name the new safety launch after Alan and they agreed that it would be very fitting. The launch was named by one of Alan’s daughters and his brother, watched by Alan’s wife, other daughter, grandchildren and a large number of Staines BC members.
Two other new boats were also named.
A pair/double scull was named "Bryan Griffin" by Mrs Rosemary Griffin in memory of her late husband who sadly passed away at the end of 2008.
Bryan had been a club member for over 50 years and had been a very successful rower with the club. He was also one of the members who helped rebuild the club after the disastrous fire in 1950. Bryan subsequently rowed with other clubs such as Worcester, Stourport and Birmingham but always thought of Staines as his home club. He was also a well known member of Remenham Club.
A second safety launch was named "Jeremy Pollen". Jeremy puts a huge amount of his spare time into the club. In addition to coaching juniors on the water, he also runs junior circuit sessions on Mon and Wed evenings in the winter months. He also tows the trailer to regattas & head races, mows the club lawns, mans the bar at social events, is head chef at BBQs and assists with general maintenance around the club. He is also the clerk of the course at Staines Regatta. Jeremy was runner-up Volunteer of the Year at this year’s Runnymede Sports Awards.