What a great day we had! The Barbers’ Cutter, along with a flotilla of cutters, many with grand regalia of different livery companies, escorted the Gloriana to Tower Bridge. The Tudor Pull involves a gift called a Stela (pronounced Steeler) to be sent from Henry VIII’s Hampton Court Palace by the Gloriana barge to the Tower of London where it is taken with due ceremony and handed to the Beefeaters for safe keeping until the following year. The Barbers’ Cutter looked impressive with the Arms of the Company proudly displayed in the huge stern flag, the dominant gold Opinicus on top of the canopy and the glistening murrey-coloured hull slicing through the water. For the first hour from Richmond the weather was glorious sunshine and then in a timely way clouded over to cool the hard-working rowers. The criteria for the selection of the crew for this prestigious ceremonial event was to give two liverymen who had never participated in such an event an opportunity to do so. Max King and Simon Stanley were keen to take up the mantle and deserve much praise for their demanding row in sometimes challenging waters over the long 18 mile course. With a crew of only four, it is important to have two crew members who between them have some experience and sheer power. Catherine Rounce had her ever present enthusiasm and did a sterling job at bow over the whole course and importantly, provided the crew and passengers with suitable straw hats for the occasion. Dick Blanchard was the constant powerhouse of the crew and ensured we kept out of trouble when it mattered as the tide became increasingly fierce. Unfortunately, the Master and Mistress Barber were indisposed. However, Vicki Waldron was delighted and honoured to take a seat under the canopy for the trip. Alison Bents said she felt immensely privileged to be the other passenger and helped out with rowing for a short spell when one of the crew was nursing an injury. After this rowing achievement, we ended up in the Dickens Inn at St Katherine’s Dock with the other crews for a very welcome drink.
Brind Waldron, Cox