Blades Rush 1996: The 20th Anniversary

(Pen Rance)

In Michaelmas 1995, a new breed of rower emerged at Lincoln. They shared a gritty determination, an obsession with Top Gun, a distain for sleep and, above all, a burning desire to have their diminutive college pull above its weight on the Isis. That ambition saw them petition LCBCS for new boats and blades, employ the coaching services of OUBC director of rowing Steve Royle, endure winter training camps, trek across the country to regattas, row when no sane person would brave the river, and thrash the ergs in the college gym until the ball-bearings shook loose. Their reward was the 1996 Blades Rush: an unprecedented haul of five blades across Torpids and Eights – and two riotous bumps suppers. Here, in the words of the W1VIII, M1VIII and M2VIII crews, is how they did it.


Matt Hurles, 7, M1VIII

I remember at Cambridge Winter Head when Rick the cox said we were rowing so well he was going to not say anything for a minute. I didn’t believe him, but it was lovely and quiet… Also, rocking up at the boathouse at lunchtime and putting our boat on the water at the precise moment the river opened and having it to ourselves, every day, all year... The last morning of the Eton Dorney winter camp when Rick finally beat Nic and me on the pre-breakfast run – when we were knackered after the three sessions a day regime. A hollow victory, but celebrated nonetheless.


Alison Lea, 4, W1VIII

Ah the glories... I remember using the fact that we only had six people in the 1st Torpid for most of Hilary as motivation to train harder – with blind optimism that the remainder would be found, and frustration that no one would step up from the 2nd Torpid because they didn’t want to train so hard... Captain Jill was a calming influence on everyone... On a frozen early morning, climbing around the gate at Folly Bridge, the loop of my laces got caught over a spike and I ended up hanging upside down rather ingloriously... The fear that our boatman Colin would get it wrong (as if...) and we would plough haplessly into the bank off the start, and the terror when our coach stopped counting down at “five”... I don’t remember the first bump on Wolfson: I just went max out from the gun… And the crew socks, which were conveniently the same colours as my brother’s rugby team’s.


Nick Davies, 3, M1VIII

I remember… Racing on the lake at Coate Water Park regatta – and having to handbrake turn, checking the boat straight after the finish line to avoid certain death on a concrete wall... “Borrowing” the “Welcome to Silverstone” sign on the way back. Is it still in the bar?... Nic switching me to stroke side and struggling to find the water... Steve Royle’s one liners: “Feeling like a dog with two dicks!”... Nothing better than chasing down Oriel II on day three of Torpids – they’ve not recovered since...


Mel Burtoft, 6, W1VIII

Coach Matt “pain is just weakness leaving the body” Hurles; a phrase I have used many times since to show how bloody nails I am… Jill being nicknamed “Robocop” when running for her unstoppable gait... Getting lifted out of the boat after Eights because I couldn’t move… And the knackered old cassette I used to put on at gym sessions: Alison once suggested changing the music – in hindsight, she had a point… Oh, and what about the pre-race tunes? All the “We are rock star demi-gods and must walk out of the boathouse to Danger Zone or Hawaii Five-0.” I kind of wish my ego was still as big now as it was then!


Richard Marwood, Bow, M1VIII

I don’t know what kit the current crew row in – it may be even worse – but the look of our boat then, with the quartered all-in-ones, was certainly striking, particularly topped off with the bleached blonde hairdos of Messrs Harker and Oakhill... For me the biggest memory of bumps has always been the huge silence and nerves in the few seconds before the gun goes. All those hours on the river, in the gym and on the ergs about to be poured into the next five minutes. Rowing is quite cruel in the ratio of time spent training to time spent competing.


Alysa Levene, 3, W1VIII

All my rowing memories have merged into one! I do remember endlessly washing the boat (and Mel confusing us all by talking about the “slurks” we’d left in the suds)… Similarly endless Harvard sculls after outings (which our cox Bob did on one leg after straining a muscle), and our coach Martyn telling the number 2 behind me to shout at me if I (enthusiastic but none too experienced) bombed the slide on the start… Oh, and hearing afterwards that the stroke of one of our bumps had yelled in panic “Lincoln are coming, Lincoln are coming!” as we bore down on them.


Rik Evans, 4, M1VIII

So many memories... Being recorded for the film “True Blue” for sound but no visuals (because of the cleavers not the attractiveness of the crew – honest!)… The camaraderie between the crews – shared experiences, shared devotion and (in some cases) other types of sharing... Crew supper – not sure about the nutritional “sense” of what was consumed – but it built on that sense of “team”. Fortress LCBC!... Top of Division 2, rowing over with a lengthy posers “easy” in front of the boat house… The relief of getting that fourth bump (and screaming); then the slow, triumphant paddle to the boat house to meet the other successful LCBC crews… Getting blades ordered – lying about my weight because I was embarrassed I was so light (happy days!)… Having something to come back to 20 years later – because it meant so much to all of us that we want to celebrate it...


Martin Oakhill, 5, M1VIII

It was the start of some seriously dodgy hair bleaching and beard growing in the Men’s 1st VIII. Some of us are still trying to get it right, eh, Matt, Nick?... I’ve tried to ascertain the key of the success. My conclusion is the socks that Alison got for us – that’s what set us apart. Oh, and jolly good captains and committee members... Memories include the stench of the boy’s dorm at the Dorney training camp. I thought if we could survive a night there and still pull the boat against the stream that week, bumps racing would be a piece of cake... Completing 100km on the erg over the Christmas break… The weight sessions where we would lift to destruction, then keep reducing the weight until we couldn’t even lift the empty bar.


Pilar Bertuzzi, cox, W1VIII

What I remember about coxing the women in the Summer Eights was the thrill of the chase, watching the hull of the boats ahead wiggle and waver as their crews pulled them away from us and as we moved towards them… I remember always needing to pee at the start of a race and never eating the pasta the night before... I remember the trick of shouting at the cox ahead to concede, which worked almost always... Finally, I remember how lovely our crew was and how we all worked together in unison.


Rick Geer, cox, M1VIII

The disappointment of arriving for crew dinner and discovering it was green turkey pasta on the menu… Similar to the disappointment the LMH Women’s 1st VIII felt when they realised that they had invited the wrong men’s boat to join them for crew dinner. They’d seen a Lincoln boat dominating the Isis and assumed it was the Men’s 1st boat... Trying to look like I was in control turning the boat against the tide at Eton Dorney in flood conditions as water lapped over the sides. It took 10 minutes to get round… The hours spent calling out Nick for missing the catch and Rik for washing out... Matt collapsing over the side of the boat making retching noises and looking like a cat coughing up a furball at the end of one our more arduous training pieces, and Matt being unaware that Nic was theatrically mimicking him from the seat behind… The panic on the face of the St Catz stroke as a length’s gap disappeared in 10 strokes as we bisected the gut corners and started our push.


Penelope Rance, 7, W1VIII, LCBC Secretary

I remember the pride of taking delivery of our new boat, and naming her Impetus. Then the shame of wrapping her around a post above the Head of the River, when the Isis was red flagged… Being the first Lincoln women’s crew to use cleavers… Rik filling in for us in training: his ponytail was longer than any of ours, which disguised our ringer… Coach Martyn’s girlfriend saying: “They row ugly, but they can bloody pull.”… Our t-shirts: “Float like a butterfly. Pull like a bastard.”… Rowing over ahead of Hertford, thinking, “Where are they?”… The incongruity of slamming a bunch cornflowers, strapped to our bowball, into the boat in front… Needing to overbump on the last day of Torpids, and everyone damn well refusing to quit… Bob’s deadpan “And that’s blades”, as we pulled into the side of the Gut… And seeing my dad and sister cheering on the towpath: they’d run alongside us all the way from the bung line… Painting Donny Bridge in glorious navy and cornflower, “Three Lincoln Blades, Torpids 96”… Winning double blades! And Alysa stylishly chalking our kills in Chapel Quad.


Si Gillett, 7, M2VIII, 2nd VIII Captain

John “Spitfire” Reid on the bung line. I’m glad his feet were strapped in, else I think he would have upped and lamped someone, he was so wired!... And of course double blades in under 100 strokes... But feeling aggrieved that we needed to race past Donny Bridge three times in Eights!... Many thanks to Nick Rawlinson, coach extraordinaire… And the reason why: we trained hard, unlike many of the colleges, which in retrospect played around the edges.


Jill Bister, stroke, W1VIII, Women’s Captain

Endless Harvard sculling (what was the arm bit supposed to achieve?... Possibly Harvard sculling at a Lincoln bop – hazy (despite semi-permanent alcohol bans: why?)... James Denyer’s Lycra-clad cat stretches… Cox Bob’s disgustingly holed trackies: not a good sight from the stroke seat!... Only having six in the 1st Torpid with a few weeks to go, until Nic magicked up some well-hard graduates for us… Realising we were actually quite fast when we bumped the boat in front so hard they started to sink… Winding up to 45 off the start (and generally hitting the boat ahead before we got to the stride)… A whole crew realising that if we put ourselves through more pain than the other boats we would beat them even if they were bigger than us – and doing it.


Nic Harker, Captain of Boats, 5, M1VIII

Loose. As a Goose.


And you can see the proof of it all here:

LCBC 1948-1950

Alec Stirling

When I came up in 1948, I'd intended to play rugger, but my kit was delayed. The Boat Club pounced and I let myself be led to the Isis where an oar was put in my hands and for the next three years I was rarely far from the river. It started in the tank, a mock-up of seats in a boat by the bank at Timm's boathouse. You sat in it and were told what a stretcher, slide and swivel were for before flailing the water with an oar twelve feet and half an inch long. Then tubbing – two of us in a stubby, heavy little boat with a senior lounging in the stern, steering and exhorting as we found out how to dip, pull and feather without crab-catching or missing the water altogether (oh yes, it can be done). Then to a clinker-built eight – heavy going – and occasionally we were allowed into the shells, which by comparison skimmed through the water. Hard work, time-consuming, often cold and miserable; but splendid stuff. We still had the college barge moored with others along the towpath by Christ Church meadows. In the roomy space below decks, half was changing room and half clubhouse, hung with photos back to the 19th century and with an embarrassingly short Roll of Honour of former Blues. Lincoln was not one of the great rowing colleges; but in my three years as oarsman and coach, our First VIIIs climbed steadily up the First Division in both Torpids and Eights. There were benches round the sides below the windows, a couple of battered armchairs by a fireplace, a table in the middle and an urn. We took turns on tea duty. The flat roof was railed in and served as a grandstand for races; on these occasions we flew a big college flag from the tall flagpole. A floating wooden platform lay along the river side of the barge, slippery in the rain and heaving disconcertingly in the wake of passing motorcraft; always good for getting squeaks out of girls in Eights Week. (Well, I would squeak if I were wearing high heels and a new summer dress and looked like sliding into mucky water.) From the platform we piled into the big, broad punt that took us across the river to get to the boathouse well down on the far side of the Isis. Wilf Bosson, our paragon of a boatman, usually did the punting, but we all had to handle it; which could be interesting, as a fast stream could spin it catastrophically out of control in a split second. But there was great smugness in bringing a full load of elegant people immaculately alongside. A little downstream from the barge and on the other side of the river, there was an inlet called Parsons Pleasure with not-too-effective screens beside it. This was for naked bathing, male only of course, and in summer there was usually a knot of pallid figures splashing in and out. Not for me. I think it must be a relic from Victorian days when men bathing were not expected to wear anything and women were expected to keep out of the way.

Training started on the stretch between Folly Bridge and the downstream weir – the stretch on which the bumping races, Torpids and Eights, were rowed. In spate you needed a cox who knew his job when turning above the weir. There were heart-stopping moments when you lost way broadside on to the current and were swept sickeningly towards the dark-edged roar. When heading back upstream, the first stroke was like digging into cold treacle and there was a desperate haste to free the blade and take the next stroke. The year before I came up, a crew did go over and some drowned. We moved to Radley for further training, rowing the boats through the locks. A dismal business in winter. Some of the locks took twenty minutes and we sat at the bottom of this dank pit, rising slowly beside the slimily dripping walls, icy water spurting through cracks in the lock gates and , if we were really unlucky, sleet funnelling down on top of us. On a few really cold days, rings of ice formed round the oars, just above the blades. It was more or less all right for the cox – he was fully dressed and had a cap. We had sweaters and scarves, but that was it; we were bareheaded and bare legged, wearing those weird shorts that were designed solely for sitting at an oar and with no regard for decency. They were wide-legged, so that you could move unhampered as you flexed and straightened your knees; when you stood, the fronts stuck out from your legs. Anyway, they were not protective clothing, they were barely clothing at all. The boats were left at Radley till the end of term and we went to and fro by bus to row on the long, lockless stretch that aollowed for the long, uninterrupted haul that was the only way to bring a crew together and to coach each oarsman properly. You have to watch a man for minutes at a time to see what he's doing and you can't watch all eight at once.

There's no exercise like it (and who said “Thank God!”?). There's not a muscle in the body that isn't used, from toes pressing on the stretcher to wrists and fingertips flicking the oar to the feather. And there's the power – coming forward on the slide, knees bent, body to thighs, arms at not quite full stretch so that there's no stiffness: a coiled spring. And the surge as it's released, a smooth explosion flowing to the blade. Often a shambles: ragged timing and shocking blade work checking the momentum; making the bows dig into the water and having to start all over again with every stroke. We ached and the palms of our hands rubbed raw. Stinging meths helped us to grow callouses along the bases of our fingers and we stayed horny-handed for a year or more after we last laid hand to oar. But when it went well, it was superb. The blades striking absolutely together and making the bell notes that are every coach's dream – when the blade goes in with no splash and absolute precision, it creates a brief dark cavity and a ringing resonance. Nothing so lovely as reaching that rhythm, swinging and stretching in perfect unison, hearing the deep liquid notes and watching the puddles swirl cleanly away. The bows lifted and planed over the water and we cleared our puddles – the eight puddles left at each stroke were past the stern before the next was taken. And reaching that exquisite balance when we could easy oars with the blades in the air and glide, gull-winged, to shore. In races, everything was blanked out except the cox's voice, the utter concentration on springing the last ounce of energy into each stroke and, sometimes, the blurred babel of shouting from the bank. But of summer outings, when we were on sunlit water between green meadows, clocking up distance (mileage makes oarsmen), there was time to enjoy it. The effortless swing, clunk and recover; the drops sparkling off the blades; the hiss of the shell slipping through the river. A self-absorbed swan glancing sideways at us at eye-level just beyond the oars; moorhens among the reeds and often not a person in sight. That was up and beyond Oxford. On the home stretch there was thick traffic; not only other eights, with fours and sculls weaving amongst them, but working craft – barges. Coxes had to look lively, near misses were a matter of course and language was colourful. All coxes were necessarily small and made up for it with extreme cockiness and a lurid vocabulary, (Nowadays they have girls and I bet they're even tougher and more lurid). We had a run-in with a barge which swung across our course. We had to brake sharply, blades scraping along the barge's side. Our cox was incandescent: “Who flaming well you on the river?! Are you flaming well blind?! Couldn't you see the flaming oars?! Look at the blanking state of the oars?! D'ye know what the blanking oars cost?!”. The bargee (then slowly answered Arthur from the barge) paused reflectively when the cox at last ran down. He took his pipe from his mouth; spat accurately onto our canvas and said “Speaking of oars – 'ow's yer sister?” We threw our coxes into the river at the end of Torpids and Eights. They had been warm and dry all season and had abused us foully. They were aggressive little things and got into trouble from which we occasionally had to rescue them. One of ours at Henley thought it amusing to be offensive to roustabouts on the fairground. They took it unkindly from someone who barely came above their waists and the cox shrieked for help. Just as well for him that the four of us in the boat's engine-room – Seven, Six, Five and Four – were at hand. We rolled up in menacing line abreast with our shoulders slightly hunched, all over six foot and heavy to match. The roustabouts retired.

In my first year, I rowed at Five in the Second Torpid and Second Eight in the February and May bumping races. These happened, I think only at Oxford and Cambridge. They have been sadly changed at Oxford and at Cambridge too, I believe; but in my time and for some years after, the old ways held. The river is narrow, so the boats did not race abreast, but in procession in divisions of twelve boats each, starting with the bottom division. The top boat in each division had to row as the thirteenth boat of the division above – the sandwich boat – in the hope of making a bump and moving up a division. We took the boat out before the race for a brief paddle to loosen up and to practice racing starts – short sharp rapid strokes to get the boat moving before we settled into the full rowing rhythm. Back to the barge for a final peptalk and nervous pees. Ten minutes before the start, we paddled downstream, concentrating on our bladework, turned above the weir and took up position. The boats lined up a length and a half along the bank below the concrete bridge, held with a boathook at the stern by the boatman and angled out into the stream. The umpire addressed us through a megaphone: “Are you ready? Come forward!...” An agonising pause crouched over the oar handle; BANG from the starting pistol; we sprang off the stretchers and Wilf thrust us forward with his boathook. We reckoned that Wilf's push was worth a quarter of a length. The object was to catch the boat in front and to stay away from the boat behind; but, as we said, Lincoln never looks behind and in my time we didn't have to – we could see the thing, but we paid it no attention. The bump was made by getting an overlap on the boat ahead, then swinging in and hitting it. A runner on the bank had a starting pistol; When we neared the stern of the boat ahead there was one BANG; when our bow came level with their stern there were two and when we had a good overlap it was BANG BANG BANG and a satisfying thump. The cox in the bumped boat was duty bound to raise his arm at the first touch and both boats pulled into the bank to clear the stream.

Still at Five, I was moved into the First Torpid and Eight in 1950. We were a cheerful bunch and we sang unmelodiously “Is it true what they say about Dixie” as we walked down to collect the boat. In Torpids that year both First and Second Eights made the maximum six bumps. I was LCBC Secretary at the time and fought hard to get the Second Eight their oars; unprecedented, I think, for a Second boat. We were not the tidiest of crews and one of our victims said that it was like being pursued by a jet-propelled combine harvester. He exaggerate, but David Craig (subsequently Marshall of the RAF, Chief of the Defence Staff, Lord Craig of Radley), our Captain and rightly a perfectionist, was not too happy. After our third bump he said earnestly: “ We must do better”. I wouldn't say that we were over-confident but on the sixth day our cox carried the invitation to our Bump Supper to hand to our last victim.

With Schools looming in 1951 I moved to dry land, coaching with only an occasional outing. As coach I cycled on the towpath with a megaphone in one hand and steering with the other. I once found the crew staring at me while rowing and even the cox had twisted round to have a look. I was about to address them unkindly when I looked down: I had managed to lift the handlebars clear out of the bike frame and I was still peddling. I didn't go into the river but it was a near thing. The swans were notoriously bad tempered, especially in the breeding season, and during one Torpids I was sprinting along the Green Bank yelling encouragement. What the crew had seen, but I hadn't was that there was a nesting swan directly in my path. I saw it at the last moment and an ugly confrontation was imminent. I never thought that I could combine a long jump with a high jump, but I did. There was a glimpse of the swan rearing like a striking cobra and then I was clear. To their credit, the crew kept their eyes in the boat after the first quick glance and their rhythm never faltered. I umpired the finish during Eights, working the semaphore to the fascination of numerous grubby small boys. One Corpus crew easied too soon and scrambled frantically for safety as I reminded them of another boat chugging valiantly up behind. A Balliol crew caught two crabs and their cox all but had apoplexy as Stroke and Seven scratched it past with three feet to spare. Keble sailed by with seven men while a dripping Stroke ran along the bank shouting “Hey, I should be in that boat.” Our 2nd and 3rd VIII's bumped and our 1st had the measure of Teddy Hall.

I rashly accepted the offer of going to Henley as a spare man. At the last minute one of the crew dropped out and, like it or not, I was rowing. I had perhaps half a dozen outings before the race, which was against Sidney Sussex. We more than held them for more than half the distance with nearly a length's advantage. They began to creep up and our effort became desperate. I realised only too painfully what a year out of training can do. They beat us by a bare length. I had literally to be lifted out of the boat, muttering “Never again! Never again!”


So you thought rowing finishes after leaving Lincoln…….

Angus Bogle

I came up to Oxford in 1983, never having touched an oar before and nearly never did. Standing in the Lodge, contemplating the 6.30am start, I turned to walk away – far too bloody early! Then something made me stop - my father had rowed at school in Perth, Australia - so I turned back and put my name on the list. I didn’t realise at the time that this would have such a big effect on not only my university life, but for a long time after.

I got through the first term, picking up the basics and racing in Christchurch Regatta only to find myself and another novice, Richard Moody, asked to join the 1st Torpid the next term – to say the College was a bit short on senior talent was an understatement! But what a way to learn! After an introduction to real pain at Torpids, where we acquitted ourselves reasonably, we then embarked on a training camp on the Tideway and the experience of long outings including my first visit to the Pink Lodge at Richmond and the 40 minute steady state row back to Putney. It made the Isis seem tiny when we returned, which was the whole point! Eights Week was mildly successful as we moved back into the first division. And then came the challenge from our former Oxford Lightweight stroke, Mike Henderson, when someone suggested I go for a trial with OULRC the next year. “You’ll never make that” he said, and so the gauntlet was laid.

After 6 months of gruelling trialling and training (yep, six days a week even in those days!), I made it to the start line at 6 in the OULRC eight, only to lose by a canvas. The next year, as President, I presided over a 3 length loss at stroke. I couldn’t face another loss and returned to full time College rowing for my fourth year as Captain of Boats. After a year of rowing post Lincoln at Putney Town Rowing Club at Mortlake with another Lincoln man, James Chalmers, life moved on with marriage etc and that was it – rowing was over - or so I thought!

14 years later, beginning a career break, I was determined to get fit again and started back on the ergo, but there’s only so much erging a man can take, and when the aforementioned James suggested I go rowing again, I contacted my local club, Bewl Bridge Rowing Club in Kent, which was only a mile away. Invited down for a quick scull (I’d done a bit of sculling whilst at Lincoln and in London), it took all of a minute in the boat to get hooked again, and I have been rowing again ever since – that was 12 years ago. I quickly joined a crew and by the end of the season I had raced at Thames Ditton, Henley Veterans and the World Masters, racing VIIIs, IV- and 2x. The oldest person in the VIII was 70!!!

Veteran rowing, or Masters as it is now called, is separated into age groups (you take the average age of all in the boat), starting as young as 27 and going on, well, until you are too old to breathe! Masters A (MasA) is 27-35 and overlaps very much with senior rowing, but MasB (36-42), MasC (43-59), MasD (50-54), MasE (55-59) and upwards with 5 year ranges to MasJ (80+), all offer a competitive challenge within an appropriate age range. Age is after all a massive determinant of strength and stamina as all sportsmen and women know as they watch their performance measurements drop off as they get older. There are frequently Masters categories in local head races and regattas, either run as separate categories per age group, or combined using a standard handicap system. There are also major Masters only events in the rowing calendar, the big ones being the Veterans Fours Head, Veterans Eights Head, National Masters Championships, Henley Masters and the World Masters, the latter being held at various places around the world, some accessible and some less so (the last one was in Ballarat, Australia, but next year is in Hazelwinkel, Belgium).

And of course, it’s not all about competition. There are many recreational rowers and scullers who get out once or twice at the weekend for the joy of rowing, but rarely if ever racing.

After a bit of a hiatus for a couple of years caused by a bad back (treating your body like that of a 24 year old is not a good idea, but you soon learn!), I have now competed for a number of years at the UK events, but only sculling as sweep rowing is not good on my dodgy disc! I see plenty of faces I recognise and know from earlier rowing days, and the camaraderie of crew and Club are great. Success makes it more palatable too, of course, and drives you on in the long winter training programmes, which I still manage to fit in on average about 5 days a week. In fact, 2013/14 was the most successful season yet, starting with a second place overall in the Vets Fours Head in a MasC quad (missed out on the Headship by only 3 seconds!), a silver in MasC quad and bronze in MasD double at the National Championships and a crowning victory by 3 feet at Henley Masters in a MasC quad.

Rowing has in some ways changed a lot since I was rowing at Lincoln. Wooden boats have nearly totally disappeared. Wooden blades are only used in coastal gigs in Cornwall and Macon spoons are history. Even “big blades” or “Cleavers” have morphed in shape a bit. Technology has arrived with StrokeCoaches and the like, and carbon fibre is the best material around for boats, blades and even riggers. Training programmes for the serious are far more structured, and I now know what “core exercises” are. But what hasn’t changed is the thrill of racing, the wonderful glide of a well rowed boat, the joy of a boat firing on all cylinders and of course, if all goes well, the exhilaration of crossing the line first, having emptied the tank and given it all you can.

So, if you remember some of that, give it a try and come back to rowing – you won’t regret it!


Welcome to Features and Plans for the Future

Relief. After weeks of tinkering, I welcome you to the Lincoln College Boat Club Society's new online home at 

Officially launched at yesterday's committee meeting , the website will transform the way the Society operates.  For the first time, people can join the Society conveniently by setting up single or regular donations and signing gift aid declarations online.  We will publish summaries of our business in committee meetings starting from yesterday, along with posts in this blog, so that our membership can keep abreast of our activities.  We will also publish basic information about our spending for each academic year, starting with 2012-13, to assure people that the money we are entrusted with is going to good use.

There is more to come.  At our meeting yesterday, we committed to selling tickets for next year's annual dinner online.  There is also talk of creating an online archive of photographs, records, and accounts of Lincoln crews spanning up to the past sixty years, based on contributions from our members.  So watch this space.

In the mean time, please do take a look around.  I would be very grateful for any feedback that you might have on the current website, our plans for the future, and what you would want to do.  Comments below.