Durham School Grand – winning crew from 1954 return to the Regatta (2014)

Durham Regatta teamHistory, News

The remarkable Durham School ’54 crew will be on the racecourse on Saturday and have an outing on Sunday from Durham School, in the Prebends Bridge area of the river from 11am, with a guest ceremony.

The crew is planning a re-union at the Regatta this year to celebrate 60 years since they won ‘The Grand’. Graham Whitaker, the cox, sadly died last October and Graham’s daughter, Helen Whitaker, will visit the regatta to commemorate her father.

Back in 54, Durham School entered 6 crews in the Regatta, and won 5 cups – a remarkable achievement. The 1st crew won both ‘The Wharton’ on the 1st day, and ‘The Grand’ on the 2nd day.

Alan Terry told me that the crew was “superbly fit”, following the mantra on a beam in Durham School that “Mileage makes Champions”. A typical outing involved rowing from Durham School to Shincliffe Bridge, then rowing the long course, and finally doing some pieces on ‘Minute tree’

Their coach Tommy de Winton was “a very inspirational character, who could get lads to give 110 per cent”. He also made good use of a 16mm cine camera. A few years ago Alan visited Tommy’s widow in New Zealand and got her permission to go through a large amount of the footage and archive recordings of both the crew winning The Grand, and the celebratory scenes following the race.

“In those days Durham School was a Boarding School, and the whole school was at the boathouse. I remember singing the school song, and going to the reception in The Market Place. I had just turned 17 and it was a hell of a buzz.”

From the original crew, David Huggins, the stroke, is travelling from Brisbane, Australia, and will be re-united with Trevor Hardy (bow), and Alan Terry (3). John Lindsay, the 2 man, died a few years ago, but John Terry, Alan’s younger brother, who also rowed at Durham School, will deputise for him. An outing is planned for the Sunday morning, boating from Durham School and rowing around the Prebends Bridge part of the river. And appropriately, Helen Whitaker, a cox herself, will steer the boat.