GALLERY: King’s stage boat races between pupils present and pupils past

A ONE kilometre stretch of the Great River Ouse formed the focal point of a high profile spectator boat race on Saturday to watch past and present pupils compete against each other.

Visitors also got the chance to meet BBC and Olympic rowing commentator Dan Topolski, the former Oxford University coach, who officiated for the various races.

The last time such an event took place in Ely was in 2004, which marked the 60th anniversary of the year that Oxford and Cambridge Varsity Boat Race was held on the River Great Ouse in 1944. It was the only time the boat race has not been held on the River Thames in its 150 year history, as London was deemed too dangerous during the war.

James Robinson, head of rowing, said: “The Ely Boat Race went very well. The weather helped as it was calm and sunny and allowed some close racing.

“We raced the school crew against the Old Eleans over a 750 metre course in three races with the school winning the first race by a length.

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“However, the school were penalised for cutting across the Old Eleans in race 1 and started the second race a length down which allowed the Old Eleans to win the second race. This meant for close racing in race three, which suited the 100 strong crowd on the bank and the bridge.

“In the deciding race the school managed to edge past the Old Eleans at the start to win the race by five seconds. Both crews raced well and thoroughly enjoyed the event.”

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Mr Robinson said they followed the racing with a reception at the Boathouse Restaurant where the trophy was awarded to the school crew by Mr Topolski.

At the reception one of the school’s new boats was named the “Sue Freestone” after the Head of King’s Ely, Sue Freestone.

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