Cath Bishop (BB ’93) reports on the inaugral Iris Dinner, 23rd November 2013:
There was a buzz in the pre-dinner drinks room that carried on throughout the dinner as 142 of us packed into the dining hall at Jesus College. I spoke to so many fascinating, interesting people, but I was sad not to have spoken to more – I loved hearing snapshots of training exploits, Henley Boat Race stories from across the decades (though I think I heard more about the dinners afterwards than the races themselves…) and other shared anecdotes. And I loved the general excitement about where the Henley Boat Races are going and how CUWBC will rise to the challenge of taking the Blue Boat to race on the Tideway in 2015. I was particularly impressed by how advanced the plans are already for the Lightweights to row past next March with at least two-thirds of the original crew that raced the first ever Women’s Lightweight Boat Race signed up (and in training I think!).
There was a lot of envy throughout the room for the 9 girls who will end up with the honour of being the first women’s crew to race the Tideway Boat Race the year after next – and there will be a huge alumni roar for them down the course. The challenges keep growing for our club, whether it’s competing on the Tideway, extending Goldie Boathouse or building a new, joint boathouse and clubhouse in Ely with CUBC and CULRC. These are things that could only be whispered about when I was at college yet now they are goals that seem almost touchable and which we intend to achieve within the next few months and years. It will require a superhuman effort – but that’s something from which the CUWBC current squad and alumni have never shied away. Thanks so much to all those who attended – and if all the people I heard saying how many other alumni they wanted to bring with them next time, then we will seriously need to find a bigger hall – tickets to the next dinner will be in high demand – the Iris Dinner is here to stay!