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Susannah Duncan (BEng Engineering) and Danielle Semple (BA Geography) won World Championship bronze for Team GB u23 lightweight

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For further information on upcoming events, or to become part of the Boat Club's alumni community contact us on: All enquiries are totally commitment free and we are always happy to hear from our alumni.

Rowing Club Alumni

Our Boat Club has a very active alumni scene, with a number of events held throughout the year to enable the University’s oarsmen and women to stay in touch with each other and their Club. The biggest date in the Boat Club calendar is the Henley Royal Regatta, held annually on the first weekend of July. The Club hosts a drinks reception for all alumni and supporters at Henley Cricket Club during the break from racing on the Saturday lunchtime. More details about events can be found on our events page.

In 2012 we welcomed Boat Club alumni from eight decades back to Exeter to officially open the Nicholas Bull Boathouse, the Club’s home on the Exeter Canal. Built on the site of the former Boathouse, the new facility provides a fantastic training venue from which the Club operates. The Boathouse is named after alumnus Nicholas Bull (Chemistry, 1973), who’s vision and generosity helped to make the project a reality.

Making Waves

Our Rowing programme has gone from strength to strength in recent years and as a result we consistently finish in the Top 10 of all British Institutions for rowing in the BUCS table. In the 2016/17 season we were top of the Championship medal table at the BUCS Head with 3 Golds with a further 5 medals being won at the BUCS Regatta. In 2018 Sports Scholars Susannah Duncan and Danielle Semple made the first final at Henley for 45 years for an Exeter crew.

Supporting your Club

We have been fortunate to be well resourced by the University in recent years and in return we have delivered success in many aspects of the programme. However we also remain ambitious and wish to continue to grow and exceed previuos achievements. As a member of EUBC you would have benefiited from alumni support and in return we would ask you to consider doing the same. All donations have an impact whether its a £5 per month regular gift or the opportunity to name one of four Stämplfi rowing boats in return for a donation of £5,000 - all monies go directly to supporting the rowing programme.


This section will be developed as rowing alumni provide information. Please send any relevant memories you have as well as any photos or documents (programmes / annual dinner documents / results etc) / that you want to share here to

Rob Cookman, 1950-53 

These photos show a selection that are now proudly displayed at the Boat Club. The first photo is of the 1st IV in 1951, the second photo can see them in action on the canal and the third one is a race between Exeter University and St Luke’s College again in 1951 on the river Exe. 

EUBC 1951 (1)

EUBC 1951 (2) 

Peter Whitfield, 1955-58 

When I rowed for Exeter in 1955 - 58 we always scheduled our events v St Luke’s to be shortly after a rugby fixture which St Luke’s always won and we got revenge on the water shortly afterwards! 

We never got as far away as Newcastle in the Heads season, but did go to the Tideway and Reading ones, arriving at the latter via a slip coach off the back of a GWR express!

Happy days!

Alec Lewis, 1957-60

My memories are from the years 57-60 some of the most memorable years of my life! David Hale's report helped to reignite those special years particularly the mention of Denys Jacobs our President.

Starting from complete novice with Bank Tub training I managed a place at no. 6 in the second eight in Three Tuns. Reading and London Heads were the highlights. With no major 2nd year exams we formed a foursome with some great outings. Most notable were the Head of the Exe race in June seven crews abreast from Topsham to Exmouth Life boat house, the last quarter of a mile rowing across the waves with the boat taking on plenty of water. A great afternoon was had rowing against a four from RNEC in Plymouth followed by a trip in their minibus to a Dartmoor Pub -The Who'dhavethoughtit!!! The other summer outings on the canal only memorable from the sheer pleasure and occasionally a pint of Flowers at The Turf Hotel!

During 1959-60 I was No 6 in the first eight The Roderick Ross with Eric Machell as stroke where the most memorable events were:

  • During final training for the Heads we had a very good coach, a GP from Ashburton. One day on the final racing start and dash for the Boathouse from the Pool his shouting instructions to us disturbed a swan which took off and forced him off his bike, luckily not into the canal!!
  • To get our three boats to Reading and London (we had a clinker built boat used by the 3rd eight),we had to organise special transport for the three long shells. A flat bed lorry from British Road Services Exeter depot was deployed for this task with special steel H frame supports rigged behind the drivers cab and a lower one at the tail end of the lorry. Well strapped down they made the journey safely to Reading then on to Chiswick from where we trained on the Tideway for the week before the HOTR. I think I remember we came 97th in the 330 boat race. On the Monday after the Head we went to the boathouse to unload the boats. At the agreed time our driver arrived in a van to inform us that a lorry had reversed into our lorry while manoeuvring in the Depot and had damaged all three of our boats! He and the rest of us were devastated and handed over the case for insurance claims to the University Finance Dept. With final exams beckoning the summer term I never did see the final outcome of this story!!

Such happy days, with these and all my other Exeter activities, Treasurer of Bradninch Hall and for my first two years Treasurer of the Rag Committee!!


In memory of Dick Gammage, 1957-64

In memory of Dick Gammage and the EUBC in the 1960s


David Hale, 1958-61

We had almost been able to have a 4th VIII, but not one which had practised sufficiently together to set off for the Heads. The healthy membership, the successes on the water, and the enthusiasm at the end of the season were very gratifying, to Denys Jacobs, our excellent President, in particular, to the Committee members, to myself and to all concerned. My 'journey' in the first year from novice to stroke, 3rd VIII, being press-ganged in my second year from hopeful in the 2nd VIII and converted to bow-side at 5 in the 1st VIII, and in my final year being made Captain and asked by the forming crew to stroke that VIII, was altogether memorable! With such crews and so many good friends, this had been, and still is, one of the best experiences of my life. Thank you, EUBC!

Exeter Head, 1965

Won by: University of Bristol Boat Club, 1st VIII

Strange Experience! After an absence of 4 years mostly abroad and away from rowing, the Exeter Head in 1965 was the next & last time I rowed on the Exeter Canal! While doing postgraduate research at Bristol University, 1964 – 1966, I was in the UBBC 1st VIII, at 3 in 1964-5, and at 7 in 1965-6. At the presentation of the 1965 Exeter Head cup I was surprised to hear someone behind me say my name. It was the VC of Exeter University, Sir James Wilfred Cook, 'Nice to see you again, David. Congratulations! ...... You seem to have changed sides!' He had been Guest of Honour at the EUBC Club Dinner in 1961: Anne, now my wife of 56 years (2020), remembers sitting next to him!

Women’s Rowing at EUBC

I would like to think that women's rowing 'started' at EUBC in my captaincy, but is this really the case ......?

In the summer term, 1961, several women (2 or 3 novices & one with previous rowing experience) asked me if they could learn to row. One of them was already known to me, and was 'a bit of a sportsman predator', a phrase she herself told my wife many decades later! This could have been a danger sign, but on discussion, the EUBC Committee thoroughly welcomed the suggestion. In the longer term there were issues that would need to be resolved: budgeting applications, how to manage boats, blades and pontoons to avoid clashes/disappointment, changing-room space, lack of loos, maintenance issues and so on.

The active EUBC VIII's 1960 – 1961 season was over and a dauntless men's IV set off on a novel regatta round. Stratford, Chester, Monmouth and Marlow, were on the list. We didn't return with much silver-ware, and I have no photos (unimaginable in today's world), but learned a lot.

Meanwhile, at Countess Weir, where mostly the boats were not being used, on several afternoons 3 or 4 women started to learn to row, first in the moored 'tub', then in the clinker pairs, to get the 'real feel' out on the water. There were always at least a couple of EUBC members around to help. I was a bit surprised to learn (after the event) that even our precious clinker four had been taken out. ['While the Ca(p)t's away.....!']  Clearly there were serious sportswomen out there, and it was realised that in future years there would be many more. But the end of our academic year was nigh. The development of the project would have to be left in the hands of Dick Gammage, Captain Elect for 1962 – 1963, and subsequent Captains and their Committees.

Over the next few years a real start was made, and the results we can read about now in the most-welcome EUBC updates have proved that 'massive oaks do grow from a single acorn'!

You can view a selection of David's photos and an Events and Results summary of EUBC 1960-61 in these pdfs: 

David Hale EUBC Crew Images and names 1958 - 1961 (updated)

Event & Results summary E.U.B.C. 1960 and 1961 (David Hale)


David Bradbury, 1960-63

Well done EUBC.  You have gone from strength to strength and it is gratifying to see how you have progressed since I left in 1963.  I rowed in the first eight in 1960/61, 61/62 and 62/63 and was captain of boats (as it was called then) in 62/63.  I did a postgraduate course in 63/64.  We even went to Rennes in 1964 to row against the French, flying from Exeter airport in a shaky old Dakota. I have so many happy memories of rowing at Countess Weir and taking part in so many races against other Universities and colleges.  In those days the Head of the River from Chiswick to Putney and the Reading Head were highlights of the year. We also took part in the Trent Head one year. The first eight in 1962/63 was Cox Tony Culyer, Stroke Roger Barker, 7 Fred Bennett, 6 David Bradbury, 5 Len Shilstone, 4 Dick Spencer, 3 Mike Levermore, 2 Steve Agambar and Bow Ian Wain. We were coached by Dick Gammage and also by the memorable Denis Jacobs a lecturer in the History Dept. Any one of you characters still around?

We had not reached the dizzy heights of Henley but had left St Luke’s behind. Before me Dick Gammage was captain of boats and I am still in touch with him. He has lived in the USA for many years.  Dave Hale was Captain from 60/61.

Thanks for keeping me in touch with rowing at Exeter.


Nick Matthews, 1966-69

I read the January Boat Club update with great interest and thought I would share this photo with you. This was the 1967 Head of the River Race on the Tideway. You can see from the image that we started #73. My recollection is that we finished #57. I rowed the following year as well but do not have a photo of that to share.

I am in bow seat. Stroke seat is a very good friend of mine, Rob Haines, whom I have not seen for many years as he lives in Sydney, Australia, and I live in Toronto, Canada - our birthdays coincide so we catch up on those anniversaries. Five seat is another good friend, Tony Wood Rogers, whom I believe is still living in Exeter. After a year in the US studying for a Master's I moved to London and rowed at London RC. On one of my first rows there in a 1X I looked around and saw a familiar figure coming towards me, it was Cedric Hart, four seat in the photo. My dearest memory of Cedric was of his snapping an oar shaft as he pulled it through the water. Friendships made through rowing can last a lifetime.


Roger Barker, 1962-65

John Hinnigan 1964-67

I keep a distant eye on the progress of EUBC and note the huge progress that has been made since my time. I am still a committed active rower competing regularly at National and World Masters and Henley Vets and I have served on the Board of British Rowing for the past 6 years. I do meet up with EUBC crews now and then - I was pleased to be able to present medals to an EUBC women’s 8 at Nottingham a few years ago and I have also talked to various crews I have met at summer regattas.

My memories of competing at Exeter include our local head race and the winter pilgrimages to London, Reading and Bristol Heads. At the latter in 1965 we started 6th and crossed the line in first place only to be beaten by 1 second by a Bristol University boat from down the field containing two of my old school crew mates - painful, especially as BUBC were responsible for the timing on that day! The photograph is of London HORR in 1965 which not surprisingly has a number of common members from the ’63 boat. From the bows the crew is Eric Hardy, John Attwell, Trevor Brooking, Cliff Offer, Ian Wain, Bruce Henderson Smith, Mike Levermore, me at stroke and John Mayfield cox. I look forward to meeting some of the current squad around the country when we get back to competition after COVID-19.



Mike and Penny England (nee Cridge), 1966-69 / 1967-70

Mike joined the Boat Club in 1966 and Penny joined Ladies’ Boats as it was then called in 1967. We met when we were respective Captains in 1968/69 and Penny continued as Captain in 1969/70. This led to both of us sitting on the Athletic Union only to be followed by our elder son Andy as Captain of Squash 1996/7 – surely a family record? Below is a photo of Penny’s crew (Janet Brown, Carol , Vicky Garrard, Penny Cridge, cox Pauline) competing at the BUSA championships at Pangbourne in 1969 wearing their homemade kit with green tape sewn on the sleeves of any white shirt they had – how times have changed!

Following graduation, Mike rowed for Weybridge RC (men only in those days) and Penny for Weybridge Ladies RC where both held administrative posts for a number of years.

Now we are just regular attendees at Henley Royal Regatta. We are still in touch with cox Ian Foster.

Terry Goodall, 1960-63

A blast from the past –

The first ever ladies race, leading @ Southampton Uni - cox- Ann Carter, stroke- Anon (?), 3- Janet Swain, 2- Sally (Splash) Shawcross, bow - Marion (?).

1st Vlll training - cox Mike (?), stroke- Terry Goodall, 7- Marco Henry, 6- Dave Bradbury, 5-Len Shilstone, 4-Bill Punchard, 3- Fred Bennett, 2- Tony (?), bow-Tony Brown.

Exeter University 1st VIII starting hard at the first ever "Head of Canal" event in March 61.

EUBC being blasted by blizzard (and some new ‘spades’ blade still unpainted) – crew order almost as per the first photo, but Fred Bennett and Marco Henry swapped – Fred in 7 and Marco in 3.

Mens' Mugshots of '61 - no ladies yet!!

This section will be developed as rowing alumni provide information. Please send any relevant memories you have as well as any photos or documents (programmes / annual dinner documents / results etc) / that you want to share here to

Peter Leighton, 1972 - 75

This is the 1973 coxless four:

  • Holding our BUSF silver medals right after the race
  • Training at Henley before the regatta


Mark Venn, 1971-74

I rowed in the first VIII throughout my 3 years, and was the EUBC Secretary 1973-74. The photos you have currently for the 1970s I see were from Pete Leighton. He stroked our VIII in 1972-73 in which we achieved 23rd in the Tideway Head (the following year we came 30th).

Pete was also in the coxless IV with Nicholas Bull, reaching the final of the Visitors and setting a Barrier record. The year the 4- achieved silver at BUSF, the other half of the VIII (Niel Hart, myself, Andrew Huntley and John Mulholland) formed a 4+, winning bronze in the BUSF regatta.

I am a regular at EUBC Alumni events and keep in touch with many of my era.

1972 Senior B 4

EUBC 1972

More photos from Mark are available here.


Tim Nelson, 1976-79

This photo is the Uni's Wyfolds crew, 1979. I think we won that heat.

Phil Ross-Smith Stroke, Tim Nelson three, gentleman whose name escapes me two, Mark Lees (who is sadly no longer with us) bow. Phil was Rhodesian, he and I paired. Mark was a famous Lukie, went on to be a renowned coach.

I had rowed in '77 but dropped out in February '78. I found rowing at Exeter really hard, compared to being a schoolboy. Not the sport, but simple things like feeding myself, and training shoes. However, I did stroke the Uni four at the fours head one year. I forget which, not to any great distinction as I recall. I finished rowing in '82 with Worcester (5th in the Men's Nat champs 4+), rowed a few races in '83 but that was it.

However, the Concept 2 called and I bought mine last year. Check out the Concept 2 world rankings for over 60's. Paul Venn Exeter Alumnus is my hero, he's 68! Looking forward to some other older guys posting their times.

Good luck to the current generation. I didn't know about the HRR Saturday Cricket club meet up. Maybe next year. I joined Stewards in '82, I'd raced in the final of the Brit Cup for Wallingford Schools in '76. I've been every year since except this year.


This section will be developed as rowing alumni provide information. Please send any relevant memories you have as well as any photos or documents (programmes / annual dinner documents / results etc) / that you want to share here to

  • What Exeter University Boat Club meant to me
  • Most memorable moments
  • Life post Exeter

This section will be developed as rowing alumni provide information. Please send any relevant memories you have as well as any photos or documents (programmes / annual dinner documents / results etc) / that you want to share here to

  • What Exeter University Boat Club meant to me
  • Most memorable moments
  • Life post Exeter

This section will be developed as rowing alumni provide information. Please send any relevant memories you have as well as any photos or documents (programmes / annual dinner documents / results etc) / that you want to share here to

  • What Exeter University Boat Club meant to me
  • Most memorable moments
  • Life post Exeter

This section will be developed as rowing alumni provide information. Please send any relevant memories you have as well as any photos or documents (programmes / annual dinner documents / results etc) / that you want to share here to

  • What Exeter University Boat Club meant to me
  • Most memorable moments
  • Life post Exeter