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John Chapman – A Life Well Lived

21 February, 2021
written by
Mike Parsons
Mike Parsons avatar

It is very sad to have to record the passing of John Chapman on 11th February 2021, after a short illness in hospital.

“If only more people gave to their family, and to society in the way that John has always done, the world would be a much better place”

“a kind, generous and wonderful man who will be greatly missed by us all.”

These are just two of the messages I have seen, since this news became known. I’m sure there will be many more, since John was awarded the MBE in the 2020 New Year’s Honours list for services to the Community of Marlow; it is such a great shame that the restrictions due to the pandemic, meant that he never received it in person. We at Marlow Rowing Club and Marlow Regatta (Dorney) therefore only ever saw a fairly small part of John’s contribution to the life of Marlow. He was also much involved in Age Concern, Marlow Parish Church, the Rotary Club, and the British Legion, and no doubt other organisations of which I am unaware.

Whilst John never took on an official position within Marlow RC, he, and his late wife Jean, were essential members of the “working parties” for any event staged by the Club, whether it be baking cakes, making sandwiches, serving on the bar, erecting tents etc, etc. He was a very keen member of the “heavy gang” that used to erect the two-storey Judges Box and other structures at Marlow Regatta, when it was run in Marlow, and even survived a spanner being dropped on his head one year, only to turn up the next year wearing a safety helmet! (Before the days of Health and Safety!)

He was elected onto the Regatta Committee in 1986, and then to the Management Committee in 1991, made a Vice President in 2006, and then took over as President from Bill Findlay in 2012. In addition to these local roles, John was also Hon Treasurer of the Thames Regional Rowing Council for twelve years leading up to 2006, and then acted as Examiner until 2013. He was elected President of the TRRC in 2011, a one-year appointment, and then became a Life Vice President. He was widely known throughout the rowing world, partly because of his enthusiastic support for the younger members of his family, who rowed with some success. His presence at meetings and rowing events as well as his wise counsel, and comradeship, will be very much missed, by us all.