Francis-Smith

It is with sadness that we have to report the passing of Francis Smith. For many, this will just be a name on the Honours  Board, where you will see that he was Captain for a total of eleven  years but, for a few of the “oldies”, these are memorable  periods in the Club’s history.

Throughout his active life, Francis was devoted to encouraging the youth of Marlow to develop their unique talents, outside  school. In his younger days he led a local Scout group (hence his  nick-name of “Rikki”) and later, when employed as an  English teacher at Great Marlow School, was very active in “after  School activities” which included establishing an “Old  Marlovians Rugby Club” for Old Boys from the school.  His first involvement with rowing was at Sir Wm.Borlases’s Grammar School, as a schoolboy, and subsequently at Reading  University. Upon taking up a teaching career, he coached crews at his  old school, and also Marlow RC. He had two spells as  captain of the Club; 1966 & 1967 and 1977 to 1986. His single minded  approach sometimes upset some, but the Club had  some very good years under his leadership.

However perhaps his main contribution to rowing, for which he will be remembered, was the formation in 1969 of the Great  Marlow School Boat Club which produced many successful crews and very  proficient oarsmen, and most notably Steve  Redgrave, our current President. His prime objective throughout was to produce crews who, regardless of  the event entered, would be capable of either  winning or giving their opponents a very hard race. Steve now  recognises that establishing the expectation of always  winning was fundamental to his own later remarkable rowing career. His occupation as a teacher of English, gave him an excellent command of the English language, so when coaching, he  could convey his message in more than one way which ensured that,  eventually, the whole crew understood what he was  seeking. It also came to the fore in his very entertaining Captain’s  speeches at Club Suppers.

He is survived by his wife, two daughters (one of whom is carrying on the tradition being a rower and also is much  involved with running Marlow RC), and 3 grandchildren.