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News > The House > Boat Club News - June 2022

Boat Club News - June 2022

John Wade's Obituary, the 'Mike Roswell' Boat Naming, and the Henley Royal Regatta Reminder
23 Jun 2022
Written by Olivia Tan
The House
John Wade being congratulated by Jon Carley on being presented with his blazer and cap.
John Wade being congratulated by Jon Carley on being presented with his blazer and cap.

Dear Members and Friends of the Christ Church Boat Club Society,


John Wade

It is with great sadness that we inform you of the death of John Wade, Christ Church Boatman for nearly 13 years.

Jennifer, John’s widow, has informed us that John’s funeral will be held at 1.00pm on Thursday, 30 June 2022 at the Headington Crematorium.

Jon Carley has kindly written the following obituary:

John Wade: an obituary

A great many past members of the ChChBC will be saddened to learn that John the Boatman died peacefully on June 10th after a short illness. John served the Club with great loyalty, dedication – and patience – for almost 13 years, retiring in November 2008, when the Boat Club Society dined John and Jennifer to celebrate his service. The event, at which Archdeacon Julian Hubbard presided, was well-attended by old and current members and John was surprised – and touched – to be awarded 1st VIII Colours, along with his blazer, cap and sweater, as a gesture of the gratitude and affection of all.

However, this was not John’s first retirement; indeed, he was already sixty years of age when he embarked upon this new career with the House. And – of course – there was nothing ‘new’ about it: John’s association with the Isis had begun back in the post-war 1940s with coxing, first for Hannington RC (a precursor to City of Oxford) and even on occasion for the Christ Church Servants’ Boat Club, which took part in Town Bumps and inter-collegiate races with like institutions. Given that one of the duties which John took upon himself during his tenure was to coach “Henry’s VIII”, a crew made up of college staff, then the wheel had truly come full-circle.

It was this aspect of John’s lifelong attachment to Oxford rowing that made him, in effect, the very last of a long series of Isis watermen, with a collective memory and fund of tales stretching back – so it seemed – to Noah. He was a rich repository of such knowledge, with an anecdote for each analogous occasion, and was a treasury of sage and measured advice which both bolstered the nervous new novice cox and curbed the overweening confidence of the most hubristic Blue (and coach…) And this all delivered in a calm and friendly manner which rarely failed to earn him the respect it deserved. In the face of handwringing disaster in the form of damaged boats, he remained unflappable: John had seen it all before. During Torpids and Eights he was often down at the Boathouse well gone midnight, effecting repairs to keep the fleet competitive, drying out recalcitrant filler with a heat-gun (aka ‘John’s Hairdryer.’) The college boatmen as a breed do not give their respect lightly – yet John was their doyen, as indeed Dick had been before him.

Edgar ‘Dick’ Dickins had died suddenly while bank-steering the House 1st IV- after long service as Boatman. There followed a succession of short-livedtemporary replacements which left the Boathouse and its contents in a very poor state. John quietly, calmly – and with his usual determination – set about amending that: ab chao ordo. The Senior Member and Clerk of Works soon learned to trust his judgement and act accordingly, and John was never content with just good enough, which soon had the Boathouse again the envy of lesser clubs.

At the age of 72, and suffering from back problems which were never fully resolved, John retired for the second time. He remained, needless to say, keen to follow the fortunes of the ChChBC, and along with Jennifer was always welcoming to visitors and eager to hear the news. The Eight regaining the Headship in 2009 was a great pleasure to him, and he would very much have liked to attend the bicentenary celebrations – and another Headship – in 2017, but felt too hampered by mobility issues, and so reluctantly declined. 

John is on record as saying that his years with the ChChBC were some of the happiest of his long life. I am sure that all the many past members of the Club who knew John, and his service, will wish to join in remembering him, and in sending condolences to the ever-supportive Jennifer. He is a man who will be missed.

John Wade July 1936 - June 2022

Boatman to the ChChBC 1996 – 2008

By clear water, John – always.

Boat Naming

On Saturday, 25th June, the “Mike Rosewell” will be formally named. We hope those of you who knew Mike, and/or were coached by him, will attend.

10.30am, the Boathouse.

Henley Royal Regatta

The Henley Royal Regatta takes place from Tuesday 28 June to Sunday 3 July.

The Society Pimm’s Party will be in the Cricket Club Carpark beginning at 6pm, on Saturday 2nd July. Please let the Dev Office know if you will be attending. There is no charge.

Should alumni members have any spare Steward’s Enclosure tickets which they are happy for current members to have, please send them to me at the Development Office to be distributed to students. We thank you very much in advance.

Do let Simon know if you will be at Henley and like to meet for a drink! Philippa Roberts, the Development Director, and Simon will both be around at certain times during the regatta, and would love to see you.

Please contact for further details.


Island Cup  - Women’s Student Eights

  • OUWBC A - Laurel Kaye (Bow Seat)

Visitors’ Cup - Coxless fours

  • OUBC - Barnabé Delarze

Silver Goblets (Men’s Pairs)

  • Oliver Cook (alumnus)

Also three of our coaches are racing for Oxford Brookes:

  • Max Thompson (M2 Coach) – Visitors
  • Jemima Furness (W3 Coach) – Island
  • Evan Falstrup (M3 Coach) – Prince Albert


  • OUWBC B - Juliet Russell, Kate Friesen, Anna Betteridge, finished 4th fastest non-qualifier

Sadly the crew entered for Prince Albert - Student coxed Fours had to withdraw as one of the rowers contracted Covid the day before the racing.

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