After years of planning and fundraising, on Wednesday 13 February the Sports Hall was opened by Minister of Sport at the time, Hector Munro. Officially named the John Eggar Hall, setbacks meant that sadly it didn’t open until after he retired.
The equipment for the Sports Hall was paid for by the profits of the Summer Ball, a regular event since 1974. The hall really would have been an empty shell without the really substantial sums raised for fixed apparatus and moveable items.
A good round up of 1980 is printed in the OVS newsletter (page 233) from January 1981, extracted below:
In sport, College had a mixed year. The Cricket XI did not do so well as they did in 1979, but the Rowing Club went from strength to strength. The 1st VIII won the Senior C Class at Wallingford and Monmouth and were entered for the Princess Elizabeth but were knocked out in the first round by the eventual winners. Four members of the 1st VIII were selected to row for England in the Home Championships in Ireland as a result of their efforts at the National Championships and duly won. The J15's and J14's also had a good year.
Shooting is also on the up-grade and there can be little doubt that postal matches help to raise the standard of the members of the VIII.
In addition to all this outdoor activity, the Junior Debating Team won the Henley Rotary trophy at the 'Youth Speaks’ tournament, Mr Welsh produced a world premiere in 'Trouble at Hive Nine’, which the author had adapted from a radio play. He came to see the performance and was very complimentary. The College production for 1980 was 'Julius Caesar', which was acclaimed a great success.
At last the landing-stage has been completed, which means that two eights can be launched at the same time, and the Boat Club has also acquired another Carbocraft and a second transporter.
As far as concrete and mortar is concerned, the new Science Building is now fully operational. During the building process Science was being taught here, there and everywhere, and the Department struggled on manfully, to put it mildly, in adverse conditions.
The Tithe Barn project is now in full swing. Already, doors have been knocked through from Rooms 3 and 4, and a permanent base has been built for the organ at the north end. The whole project will take time, but at the same time take heart - it is all being financed by profits from the Summer Ball, the 1980 occasion being another sell-out and a huge success as a result.
A very popular member of staff whose name is still often mentioned today, George Wright, retired. Here’s what The Court had to say about him:
Although G.W.W. has been at Shiplake since January 1966 he has remained a man of mystery. There he is in the Henley Royal Regatta records before Hitler's war; then a soldier; at some time a farmer; experienced A Level Examiner, enthusiastic Bridge player, he finally came to anchor at Sonning Common just far enough from the school to keep his own affairs separate from ours. Old boys will remember him coordinating the Rowing for some years and running the debates. It was a wise move when J.D.E. asked George to take over the Time Table. His Bridge experience meant he was always several moves ahead and produced time tables and exam arrangements of great complexity that managed to make life remarkably easy for boys and staff. This was done during years when the school grew by one third in numbers. From the boys point of view Mr. Wright was a master who could teach all the Sciences and was a great teller of droll stories. His tremendous interest in young people can best be summed up by asking this question: "Whoever had an unkind end of term report signed G.W.W.?"
The School produced its next Olympic medallist, Malcolm Carmichael, who attended the College from 1967-1974. He won a bronze medal at the 1980 Olympics in a coxless pair with Charlie Wiggin. While at Shiplake he was in Skipwith House and became a House Prefect. He was a member of the 1st VIII, and a sculler and took part in the Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme.