10 July 2013

2012- A Special Year

2012 was a unique year in which DSPC performed two special roles.

June 3rd 2012 saw 1000 boats muster on the River Thames in London to take part in the Thames Diamond Jubilee River Pageant.

DSPC had 12 boats taking part in this unique event. It was a busy and eventful weekend with everyone playing their role in getting boats down to Chiswick on the Saturday, where Ditton’s crews were assisted by the army in lifting our boats out at the Chiswick boat houses.

Early Sunday morning, the Ditton’s crews departed in high spirits for Chiswick. where the crews had time to finish decorating their boats and making final preparations for the pageant, including final positioning of our specially commissioned Dittons flags.

Once Dittons crews were boated, the crews rowed down past Barnes and Putney, receiving loud and continuous support from the moored cruisers and other crews. Lunch was taken in the boats at Wandsworth Bridge, where all the Manpowered Squadron mustered in preparation for the off.

Ditton’s crews had practiced rowing in formation and the skiffs were rowed down to the Royal Barge for the formal salute with our blades to HM Queen and the Royal party. With the salute completed, Ditton’s and the other 300 rowed or paddled boats made their way downsteam to Tower Bridge, in the largest flotilla of boats that had been seen on the Thames in living memory.

It was a great experience to see the vast quantity of boats on the river and the crows cheering on the crews in a deafening and continuing cheer. Yes, it did rain, and yes, crews were cold at the end, but regardless, it was a fabulous day which all of Dittons was proud to have taken part in.

This was followed by the Olympic Torch Relay which culminated on the day of the Olympics Opening Ceremony on the 27th July. This was a great event, which involved Dittons skiffs and punts, all of which took part in the flotilla accompanying the Queen’s Row Barge, Gloriana.

Dittons Skiff and punt crews congregated by Hampton Court Bridge to get the best view of the torch being carried onto Gloriana by a dancing Matthew Pinsent. Dittons skiffers’ and punters’ then set off with the Gloriana and receiving a huge cheer as the flotilla passed the Dittons clubhouse. A well- earned break was taken at Teddington Lock before the final stretch to Richmond, where the crews were rewarded with well earned bacon sandwiches and cups of tea in the rain! Gloriana continued on downstream to eventually pass the Olympic flame on to David Beckham to take to the Olympic Stadium for the ‘Greatest show on earth’.

It was a fabulous event made all the more special by the huge numbers of cheering crowds along our usually quiet stretch of the river.

Many thanks to all those who organised and took part in these memorable events.