Landmark anniversary of only Oxford-Cambridge boat race not rowed on River Thames to be commemorated

The Oxford University Boat Club prepare to launch on the River Great Ouse

The Oxford University Boat Club prepare to launch on the River Great Ouse - Credit: Archant

In 1944 the only Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race not rowed on the River Thames was contested on a stretch of the Great Ouse, near Ely.

The 1944 race approaches the finish line

The 1944 race approaches the finish line - Credit: Archant

Martin Whitworth, president of the Isle of Ely Rowing Club

Martin Whitworth, president of the Isle of Ely Rowing Club - Credit: Archant

Next Wednesday, some 70 years later, Martin Whitworth, who was number four in the Cambridge Boat, will host lunch for one of his old opponents, Michael Brooks, in celebration of the race’s anniversary.

Isle of Ely juniors captain Yasmin Revell names the new quad boat

Isle of Ely juniors captain Yasmin Revell names the new quad boat - Credit: Archant

Michael, who lives in Amersham, Buckinghamshire, rowed at number three for Oxford and his crew won the wartime race by three-quarters of a length.

Cambridge levelled the wartime series the following year at Henley-on-Thames, with Martin at stroke.

Martin lives in Woodbridge, Suffolk, and is president of the Isle of Ely Rowing Club. To mark the occasion, the Ely club will also name their new boat Michael Brooks, in honour of Oxford’s victory.


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At the commemoration event held on Wednesday, a framed photo and naming ceremony DVD will be presented to Michael.

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