I am delighted to be elected the 191st Master of the Company and look forward to representing you in the coming months.
As a fifth generation Waterman, my personal journey began in 1979, when I was apprenticed by my father, Peter. Starting my apprenticeship at Cherry Garden Pier, I kept up my commitment to rowing from Globe and Poplar rowing clubs, which saw me represent Great Britain in World Rowing Championships from 1980 to 1984. A change of career led me to work for a number of years as a Foreign Exchange Broker in the City of London but the River Thames, and rowing in particular, continued to feature significantly in my daily life. In 1984, I won the Doggett’s Coat and Badge wager, a race which I remain passionate about, and today, work to ensure its preservation. Building on my rowing success, subsequent careers have seen me working to develop grass-roots rowing, coaching internationally and establishing London Youth Rowing from the Royal Albert Docks. In 2005 I was appointed as the Watermen’s Company Rowing Officer and in the same year received an appointment to Her Majesty The Queen as a Royal Waterman.
My desire for the coming year is see increased involvement with our Company of the younger generation afloat. With the Thames seeing a number of new projects, it is vital that the Company engage with and promote the opportunities available to young people. I hope too, to encourage a new generation to make life-long relationships with the Company and to work with us to ensure its future.
I am thrilled to report that my term as Master has got off to a flying start. Success in the Barge race with the Company’s new barge, the Apprentice Lighterman was followed by a win in the Port of London Challenge. On 25th July, 2017 Jack Keech became the 303rd winner of the Doggett’s wager, in a dominant performance.
Finally, together with my wife Sally, I am looking forward to the year ahead and hope to meet many of you along the way.
Simon McCarthy – The Master