Stuart Redden Memorial Challenge

A few months ago, ERC received the heartbreaking news that Stu Redden had passed away. This news has been incredibly hard for so many people, a true testament to how many people Stu made an impact on in his lifetime. In his memory, ERC has endowed a cup for an annual eights race — open to members and alumni. Two eights side by side on the regatta straight — four heats, semis and final. The inaugural race will be Sunday June 4th 08:00 am. We welcome all members, old and new, to come and show support for the event. Please take the time to read the following piece, written by Keith Sutherland.

‘After Stu started his training as a barber, he had to give up his coaching duties at ERC, as squad outings conflicted with opening times at the salon. But he did come back to coach me occasionally in my single (and with Anne-Marie in the double), early weekday mornings before going to work.

When word got round that “Coach Stu” was back, a few others joined us and we quickly grew into “Stu’s Tuesday Morning Eight”. This was principally an open masters’ squad, but we recently absorbed the novice men, even though they only just scraped in age-wise. After a year or so we were the largest adult squad in the club. Our current age range is 20-84, and the squad ranges from complete novices to international gold medallists. One of us has advanced Parkinson’s Disease and practically has to be lifted into the boat, but once he’s in his seat he flies like the wind.

I’ve often wondered why Stu took the time to train a bunch of old gits like us, given that all his coaching experience was with university and senior men’s squads, with HRR the annual goal. When he first came to ERC, nearly 15 years ago, and set up the senior men’s squad (before he came the “squad” was only Dan Rowse and Dan Willmington), a few of us vets (Dave Parsons, Ceri Green, Mike Boother, James McClune and myself) decided to go along for the ride. Stu was doubtful that we would hack it, but we were determined to do everything the senior men did, despite the screams of agony from the erg room. Seniors come and go, but us oldies stay the course and Stu wanted to repay our loyalty. We were all deeply shocked by his sudden death and miss him enormously – both for his coaching and friendship. Although my own rowing skills had been described by a past captain as “beyond redemption”, Stu’s patient diligence is beginning to pay off. He had the knack of focusing in on just one or two bad habits each session, realising that old dogs have difficulty learning new tricks and we need time. Stu, we miss you terribly, and will do everything we can to honour your memory, fighting to win and then retain the annual Stuart Redden Challenge Cup.’

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