Marlow Rowing Club members polished up nicely last Friday 9th October, ditching the lycra in favour of black tie and cocktail gowns, to attend the celebratory dinner and dance held at the Crowne Plaza Marlow to raise the final funds for the new boathouse.

Rowing royalty in attendance included Olympians: Sir Steve Redgrave, Katherine Grainger, Naomi Ritches, Sarah Winckless and Zac Purchase. Sadly Helen Glover was ill but her celebrity fiancé Steve Backshall came.

We were also honoured with the presence of the Home Secretary, the Rt Hon Teresa May, MP for Maidenhead and her husband Philip.

The event was a success from the initial champagne reception, with a total of 200 attendees arriving and instantly catching up with old friends and new. A three course dinner was served, Club Chairman John Yeatman gave a rousing speech saying:

“Tonight we are celebrating the opening of our magnificent new boathouse. I said this two weeks ago but I think it worth repeating: I get a little irritated when, just because we have a magnificent new building, people refer to 'The New Club' or 'The New Marlow Rowing Club'. This Club of ours is far, far more than just a building. It’s our values, our traditions and above all our members.

"I’m very pleased to announce that given a decent return from this evening, we will have fully funded the building. Of course as a Charity, the Fundraising isn’t going to stop after tonight. We still need to raise £90,000 to pay off the land loan and are launching two new sister funds to the President’s Fund, the Captain’s Fund and the Chairman’s Fund.”

Afterwards an auction took place and a raffle, which raised £15,000 for club funds, meaning that the overall target of £2,500,000 has now been reached.

Deputy Chairman Chris Lenton thanked everybody for their generosity, commenting: “I am overwhelmed at just how kind and generous the members and friends of Marlow Rowing Club have been over the last four years and particularly in support of our fundraising dinners. Everyone enjoyed the evening; it was a chance to meet up with old friends and there was a lot of humour. The auctions was an entertainment in itself and I am looking forward to the next one!”