THE Leander Club bicentenary celebrations took an international turn last weekend, when an exclusive dinner in Dublin gave the chance for all the club’s Irish members to celebrate the milestone event.
The President of Rowing Ireland, Eamon Colclough, and Ireland’s Minister for Justice and Equality, Charles Flanagan TD, were among the VIP guests at the Kildare Street and University Club, where more than sixty Leander members dined at the historic venue.
Leander had mooted the idea of a Dublin dinner early in its bicentenary planning, due to having such a strong membership on this side of the Irish Sea. The event also gave the club the chance to showcase the Cork Cups, the magnificent trophies which have adorned the Leander dining room for more than 100 years.
Thanks to the support of Wilkins of Henley, two of the trophies were able to be returned to Ireland for the dinner, to be reunited with the Leander Galleon, a silver trophy which was first presented to Cork Regatta in 1904. Although the three trophies had been reunited on two previous occasions this was the first time it had occurred on Irish soil.
The day began in the Senior Common Room, at Trinity College, Dublin, courtesy of Provost, Patrick Prendergast, where more than 75 senior members of Ireland’s rowing community heard historian and rowing commentator, Robert Treharne Jones give a presentation on the history of the Cork Cups.
“Given our historical support in Dublin, notably from University College Dublin and Trinity College, I should not have been surprised at the magnificent welcome that awaited us at the first of our dinners around the globe celebrating Leander’s bicentenary. The sight of the three magnificent Cork Trophies re-united in the presence of so many members and guests is one that I shall never forget” said Leander president Jeremy Randall.
For Dublin-based member John Aiken, who was responsible for much of the event organisation with Leander general manager Paul Budd, it was well worth the effort.
“It simply exploded into a wonderful day and night, in the company of such warm and welcoming friends. Without doubt, the Cork Cups made it a unique and historic event, my thanks go to everyone who contributed to our success” he said.