Skip to content ↓
Ely College

Ely College

HRH The Duke of Gloucester visits Isle of Ely Rowing Club & Ely College Rowing

On Thursday June 13th 2024, Isle of Ely Rowing Club (IoERC, was pleased to host a visit from HRH the Duke of Gloucester KG, GCVO, GCStJ, SSI, FRIBA, accompanied by the Lord Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire, Mrs Julie Spence OBE CStJ QPM and her cadet CDT CSM Lucy Miles, in an itinerary including the Girton Town Almshouse ( and the centenary celebrations of Cambridgeshire Acre (

On arrival, The Duke was greeted by the co-Founder and President of the club, Dr Derek Pickersgill, the club’s Chair, Ms Teresa Aslett, the Chair of the Trustees, Dr Susan King, the Junior Coordinator, Mr Dylan Schoeman and the club Captains Mr Duncan McCulloch and Mr Patrick Neininger. During the visit he also met, among others, Mr Jason Coe, the Assistant Principal of Ely College, Mrs Viv Doji, President of the Rotary Club of Ely, and Mr Rupert Wilson, Ouse Washes Field Team Lead, Environment Agency.

The Duke, for whom this was a first visit to a grass-roots rowing club, was able to witness the talent, variety and diversity that IoERC embodies. Junior boys’ and girls’ crews, men’s and women’s crews, adult learners and experienced crews of all ages and backgrounds showed off their skills during the visit and were able to chat informally with him afterwards.

The relationship of the club with the local community and in particular, Ely College was much in evidence. Parents of the juniors taking part talked glowingly of the increase in their children’s confidence, their sense of teamwork, engagement, responsibility and independence, as well as the sense of community the parents themselves found through association with the club. A short outing in a safety launch let The Duke see the river through the rower’s eyes, and gave a sense of the peace and respite from the everyday, as well as the intense competition that the sport of rowing offers. Evidence of the success of the visit came from the Lord Lieutenant’s cadet, who said she would definitely be signing up for the club’s next learn-to-row course.

As the visit drew beyond its appointed close, the club’s President thanked The Duke for his visit, that it “had done wonders for our morale” and had increased our already high levels of optimism for the future. In replying, The Duke congratulated the club in bringing enthusiasm and skill to bear to make the club as effective as it could be, putting together the free river and expensive boats for good use, and he wished the club many successes in the future.

Picture: The Duke chats with IoERC juniors
Credit: Rob Morris (
Left to Right: Julie Spence, Emma Turrell and Emma LeGresley (parents), Teresa Aslett, Duke of Gloucester, Derek Pickersgill, Lucy Miles