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#55 - 2012

In 2012 past and present pupils, staff and parents came together to celebrate all things rowing as the College commemorated 50 years of rowing at Shiplake.

There was an OVS regatta as well as a dinner in the Sports Hall and the unveiling of the Rowing Honours Board, which still takes pride of place in the OVR. See the write up of the events here, reported in the 2013 OVS Magazine:

"Nine crews took to the river for an OVS Regatta. There was a hard fought competition between Old Viking crews reuniting from as far back as 1986. The successful 1964 IV had a more leisurely nostalgic outing as did the 1973 VIII who had T-Shirts printed for the occasion. In the evening 230 guests gathered in the Sports Hall for dinner accompanied by a spectacular big-screen display recording 50 years of Shiplake Rowing History. OVs lent on a bar creatively converted from an old boat by Hugh Mackworth-Praed, 1st VIII coach. Old Vikings had travelled from Canada, New Zealand, USA, Dubai, France and Poland to be present at this historic occasion. After a superb meal guests settled for the entertainment. Jonty Hearnden, Master-in-Charge of ceremonies for the evening, announced that the celebrations were a little premature, research had revealed that the Shiplake Boat Club had not entered a race until 1963. Mike Shingler, part of the first IV to win a race for the College, recalled how Sam Hall, their coach, frequently used to fall from his bike as he raced along the towpath bellowing instructions. Not knowing how big the Reading Regatta cup was, Hall had offered to fill the trophy with beer. When the crew won the event he was surprised at the size of his bar bill.

Shane O'Brien, Gold with the New Zealand IV in 1984 and now a Headmaster in Dubai, said that returning to Shiplake 'felt like coming home'. Thinking back to his victory in Los Angeles he described how difficult it was to come to terms with family and friends treating him so differently. There was even a victory parade on the back of a tractor. Shane recalled coaching Will Satch in his Shiplake days and giving Mark Hunter MBE a job coaching at Shiplake 'before he was famous.' Ben Hunt-Davis MBE chronicled his tough route from selection for Shiplake's J14B VIII to Olympic Gold in the GB VIII in 2000. He summed up the disappointing years prior to the Sydney Olympics, 'If you keep doing the same things, you keep getting the same results.' The training, the philosophy and the result changed in Sydney. Once the Rowing Honours Board had been unveiled dozens of guests rushed onto the stage to see their names. The final words of the evening came from Jonty Hearnden quoting The Sunday Times on Will Satch, The future's bright. The future's ginger.'"

Our prestigious Rowing Honours Board is unveiled


A new £4.3million Music, Art and Resource Centre was announced. Due to be completed in September 2014, its aim was to 'put learning at the heart of the College and at the heart of a good Shiplake education.'


The whole College community was incredibly proud when former pupil Will Satch won a bronze medal at the London 2012 Olympics in coxless pair with George Nash. Here is how the School reported the news, in the 2012 publication Riverbank:

There was excitement when the School was thrust into the spotlight following a visit from the stars of BBC drama, Waterloo Road. The pair visited the College as an acting exercise to learn more about running a school to develop their characters. Actor Alec Newman described Headmaster Gregg Davies as one of the most inspirational people he had ever met and the visit was reported in the Sunday Mail.


Also in 2012:

- The biennial sponsored walk took place on an extremely wet day, but that didn’t stop nearly 400 pupils, parents and teachers raising over £16,500 for charity.

- Year 12 pupil Tom Howe was selected for the England rugby development squad.

- 30 Geography students visited Iceland, taking in stunning waterfalls and walking along a glacier during the five day tour.

- New Director of Music, Paul Jones, set up a rock choir at the School, which made its debut at a joint concert with Queen Anne’s School in Caversham.