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Mallory Club update

Mallory Club Summer Update 2020

A slightly late summer's greetings from the Mallory Club...

Needless to say, this iupdate is reaching you in some of the strangest and most unfortunate times for all around the world and it seems strange to be writing about rowing (or the lack of it) when so many other challenges are facing members of Magdalene Boat Club and its alumni. Nevertheless, we must all garde ta foy and soon we will be back to the Cam and beyond to defend what had been an extremely promising yet suddenly interrupted year for MBC. As the outgoing Captain of Boats Floss Willcocks will testify in her report, Magdalene is no longer the College that punches above its weight on the river but is now the one to beat outright. A dedicated committee and a membership driven to succeed through rigorous training has been the core strength behind the continuous build of MBC to what it is today. A few key highlights of the year are detailed below.

Michaelmas 2019

At a time when training generally drops across the Colleges, MBC were out in force during Michaelmas 2019. Investment in new boats and equipment as a result of generous donations from Mallory Club members, helped guide the Men's First and Second IVs to victory in the Fairbairn Cup defending their positions for the third year running and beating the University lightweight IV in the process. Naming ceremonies for the new IVs will be taking place in 2020/2021 when a post-COVID world allows proper celebration. 

2019 Men's Fairbairn 4+ A Crew
2019 Men's Fairbairn 4+ A Crew

The Mallory Club also entered a men's VIII and women's IV into the race, with some competitive spirits clobbering many college second boats and even a few first crews! Should the race go ahead this year, revenge is on the cards to avenge the 1 second defeat by First and Third Alumni.

2019 Mallory Club Fairbairn Crews
2019 Mallory Club Fairbairn Crews
2019 Mallory Club Fairbairn Crews
2019 Mallory Club Fairbairn Crews

Lents 2020

Success continued into Lent Term with M1 adding to the MBC blade collection to reach 10th in the 1st division. Great results from the club all-round produced a solid performance for MBC with the following final tallies:

M1: +4. 10th, Div 1. Lady Williams now has 17 bumps and 2 sets of blades in 2 years
W1: +0. 12th, Div 2. One bump for, one bump against to maintain position in Div 2.
M2: +2. 2nd, Div 3. Priming themselves for bumping into the 2nd division next year.
W2: +2. 16th, Div 3. Bumping up a division for a brilliant crew with great future potential.
M3: -2. 9th, Div 4. A novice crew, doing well to qualify for bumps against a competitive field

Lower crews also had great success in the Talbott Cup, with W2 and M3 winning their divisions.

M1: Bumped Clare I, Peterhouse I, Christ's I, St Catharine's I
M1: Bumped Clare I, Peterhouse I, Christ's I, St Catharine's I
Talbott Cup goals
Talbott Cup goals

Life in Lockdown

Throughout lockdown, Mallory Club members have been out and about sporting new MBC stash all over the country and the world. Recent specialist designs for MBC cycling jerseys have been released in Club and 1st Mays colours - if you'd like to get your hands on one (or any other piece of MBC stash including t-shirts, running tops and woolly hats), contact Mallory-funded MBC shirts have also made it to the top of Mt Olympus in Greece! A little closer to home, our very own Pat Marsh went on a rowing expedition along the Thames from Lechlade to Leander in an old ocean-going boat. Another great success of lockdown was a very well-attended Mallory Club AGM via Zoom. We hopefully plan to continue this way to allow members the chance to join in on discussions from wherever they happen to be in the world!

Paul Knights modelling the new MBC cycling jersey in Club colours with some newly painted blades in original MBC colours
Paul Knights modelling the new MBC cycling jersey in Club colours with some newly painted blades in original MBC colours.
Pat Marsh on her way down the Thames.
Pat Marsh on her way down the Thames. ​​​

Vacancy: Club Archivist

With the construction of the new Library well underway, MBC will soon have dedicated space in the College Archives. As materials are unearthed and transferred over, we are seeking expressions of interest in a potential new co-opted Committee position of Club Archivist. This role would suit anyone with a passion for MBC history and an interest in collating the ever growing collection, with an idea to create a more accessible permanent online record. Ideas, stories, reminiscences and artefacts to be added to the club archives would also be warmly welcomed! If this sounds interesting please get in touch via

Lents 1982
Lents 1982.

A Fond Farewell to the MBC Tub

Over the past year MBC have made several exciting new additions to the club fleet thanks to the enormously generous donations of several Alumni and Mallory Club members, and we look forward to sharing the details of these with you over the coming season. 

In order to make space in the boathouse for one of these vessels - a brand new Swift training pair - the veteran MBC tub has finally been retired after many decades of service teaching numerous generations of novices to row. The boat is currently in 'barn storage' thanks to MBC President Henry Reynolds, but we would be delighted to hear from any members who might be interested in giving all 27' of MBC history a new home and new lease of life in exchange for a small contribution to MBC.

MBC Tub.

Fifty shades of...lavender

Those who remember Richard Hamersley (1963) may recall his quest to discover Magdalene's authentic Lavender and Indigo colours. Research shows he was on the right track with historical evidence suggesting the Lavender of earlier blades was both paler and more distinctive than the colour presently in use. The Stewards and Senior Committee have therefore agreed revised colours to be introduced over the coming season. In future Magdalene crews should be distinguishable not only by their superior technique and style but also by more easily identifiable blades which are less likely to be confused with Catz, Downing and King's.

2020 Blades Lavender and Indigo
2020 Blades Lavender and Indigo.

Bishop Simon

A significant and poignant loss to MBC and the College this year was the passing of the Rt Revd. Simon Barrington-Ward at Easter. Bishop Simon was a keen rower and enthusiastic supporter of the Boat Club, a frequent sight on the towpath and at dinner during bumps and will be sorely missed by all who knew him and continue to row in the VIII named in his honour. Numerous dedications can be found on the College website as well as many national publications:

Rt Revd. Simon Barrington-Ward
Rt Revd. Simon Barrington-Ward.
Bishop Simon
Bishop Simon.

Badges and Sign-Up

If you're reading this email having recently signed up to be on the Mallory Club mailing list, then congratulations on such an excellent decision. However, you may wish to take this a little further by becoming a Mallory Club member with a regular monthly contribution from as little as £2 a month (less than a coffee) to help support MBC. It's important to note that the Mallory Club does not support the day-to-day running of the MBC but does assist with large investments such as training camps, large equipment purchases and most recently providing novices with their first piece of MBC kit to make them immediately feel part of the Club. The Mallory Club has regular meetings to review spending and is always open to scrutiny on how your subscriptions are spent in aiding MBC and maintaining the history of rowing at Magdalene.
Other notable benefits of being a member of the Mallory Club are priority booking and avoiding a surcharge for Mays Dinner, kit and regalia as well as waived entry fees for racing on the Cam in events such as the Fairbairn Cup, Pembroke Regatta, City Sprints and potentially even the possibility of entering Town Bump.

Mallory Club Badge
Mallory Club Pin Badge.

To sign up for a subscription, please visit and scroll to the bottom of the homepage to see the different plans available. Everyone will receive a fee Mallory Club badge upon sign-up until the end of September, with further badges available for £5 afterwards.

We hope you have enjoyed hearing about the latest exploits of the Mallory Club, and if this has left you wanting more MBC news we attach the end-of-year report composed by Captain of Boats 2019/20, Floss Willcocks, which reflects the current buoyant mood in MBC despite the situation we face. We also welcome the return of Sam Vosper, for a second stint as Captain of Boats for 2020/21.
We are also always keen to hear more about the post-Magdalene adventures of our members, and would welcome submission for future editions via
GTF,The Mallory Club

Captain of Boats Report - 2019/20

By Floss Willcocks

Stepping up to take the position of Captain of Boats from my previous role as Honorary Sec was one of the most exciting things I have done in my life to date. Although my time as Captain was unduly cut short in this strange and uncertain year, there have been so many highlights, achievements, triumphs and laughs along the way that I will treasure every short second of it, remembering forever the individuals within the boat club who made it such a joy to be Captain. The COVID-19 pandemic took away many things from MBC; our treasured Easter training camp in Lake Bled, our fantastic end-of-year celebrations, and of course our crucial chance to take that headship in Mays. However, when I look back at my time as Captain of MBC I will have only the fondest of memories and am certain that it will be just these good times that I will remember, and not the ones which never were to be.

Months of training up our new band of novices alongside our strong and enthusiastic boats of seniors culminated in triumphs at the annual Fairbairn’s Races in December. We entered 3 men’s senior fours and 2 women's senior fours as well as 2 men’s novice eights and 2 women’s novice eights. With the novice races taking place on the Thursday, it was fantastic to see not only great enthusiasm and excitement from the novices (in their final race of the term before officially “graduating” to the senior team) but also the number of other members of the boat club who supported on the tow path or waved them off from the boat house. My greatest thanks go to our head LBCs Gareth Hart and Rosie Bevan, both of whom worked tirelessly all term to train up a fantastic new cohort of MBC rowers. Thanks must also go to the other LBCs and members of MBC who have helped along the way, and also to Hugh Begley and Will Reiss who were invaluable in the final few weeks of term.

In terms of our Seniors, our first men’s boat (titled the fastest M4+ on the river) not only beat all of the other college fours but also beat the CULRC boat, making this a truly monumental victory for MBC. Our second men’s four went on to take first place in their division too, making this the third year in a row in which we have won both these titles. As the only college who had entered a third men’s four this year, we demonstrated the impressive number of dedicated senior rowers MBC has this year. This boat went on to beat several other second and first fours too! It was a great day of racing on the women’s side as well, with our first four placing in a respectable position and our second four placing above two college first boats (despite having two rowers who noviced this term). Huge credit must also go to our dedicated Michaelmas Term coaches; George Wallace, Perran Ziar, Susannah Cass and Alex Shaw, and also to the fantastic captains; Hugh Hudson, Isabel Wilson-Scott and Tonia Kefala.

Following on from Michaelmas Term, we hit Lent running with a with a fantastic pre-term training camp here in Cambridge. The ex-novices got their first taste of senior training, and the top boats excelled as they made use of the empty river and the longer outings. With such fantastic membership retention and victories in the first proper race of the term (Winter Head to Head), we made a statement to the other boat clubs that we were the ones to watch for Lent Bumps this year…

By this point my time as Captain was almost at its end although no one was to know it. I was busily making plans to take forty members to Slovenia in April for what would have been our biggest Lake Bled training camp so far. We were eagerly awaiting the arrival of our brand new empacher 8+ and already imagining the celebrations that would occur at the Mays Marquee this year. It therefore means so much to me that Lent Bumps were such a success for MBC, that before the world shut down and all rowing stopped indefinitely, Magdalene Boat Club ended the term on an absolute high.

I was fortunate enough to culminate my role as captain by coxing the M1 boat and securing blades for the exceptionally deserving crew. M2 also put in some great performances going up two over the four days, with some gruelling row overs in the middle. M3 were bumped twice in the first two days yet held their place in the division with some exciting racing and brave coxing too. Our women were a strong side this year and under the guidance of Susannah Cass, W1 stepped up in their approach to training and provided leadership for the lower crews, both in land training sessions and in their on-water technique and race performances. They were unlucky to lose a number of racing opportunities due to bad weather, but their spirits and enthusiasm was at an all time high. W2 were able to bump up to secure a permanent place in division 3 and our W1 crew fought hard to hold theirs in division 2. It was a thrilling week of races and one that we shall all never forget.

For a large number of rowers, the racing did not stop there. MBC entered 3 crews: M3, M4 and W2 into the Talbott Cup on 10th March, as well as a number of small boats into the Second Trinity Challenge Sculls. It was hugely beneficial for those who did not get the chance to row in bumps to still get this chance to race, and so were also able to finish the rowing season on a high note. The entire club was able to celebrate its victories at a fantastic Lents boat club dinner, which unbeknownst to us all, marked the final time in the academic year that MBC would all be able to gather as one club.

I would like to thank Alice, Hugh, Izzy, Tonia and James for all their hard work over the year, it has been an honour to have been on the committee with you all and I have loved every second. Our coaches (Perran, George, Susannah, Hugh and Mike) were as supportive and valuable as ever and I can’t thank them enough for the time and effort they have dedicated to MBC. Our time on this committee was cut short, but in the grand scheme of things, I feel exceptionally lucky to have had the position of Captain at all.