Rowing: Henley to hand out the silver

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Optimism and celebration featured at the Henley Stewards meeting at the Royal Automobile Club yesterday. Mike Sweeney, the Henley chairman, announced an overall profit of pounds 184,658 achieved without any increase in the rate of membership subscriptions.

Income was up by 7.5 per cent, mainly due to the growth in guest ticket sales and increased catering income, while expenditure was kept to the inflation level, at three per cent.

The Stewards celebrated their success by correcting a 30-year omission, the presentation of silver goblets to the winners of the Henley coxless pairs; such presentations ceased 30 years ago. Two of the major beneficiaries yesterday were Steve Redgrave and Matthew Pinsent, habitual winners in recent years who were awarded goblets for their 1995 win, when they broke the course record.

Redgrave, with a record seven Henley wins in this event to his credit, four with Pinsent, two with Andy Holmes, his Seoul Olympics gold medal partner, and one with Simon Berrisford, will receive the other silverware due to him, together with all the other winners over the 30 years, at the Royal Regatta next July. Redgrave, who has won a total of 15 Henley medals between 1981 and 1995, was further honoured by being elected as the only new Steward of the Regatta this year.

The position of women at Henley was secured with the news that the Queen has agreed to the naming of a new trophy, the Princess Royal Challenge Cup. It will be presented to the winners of the women's sculls, an event introduced in 1993.

The Regatta's financial success also led to a further pounds 265,000 being transferred to the Stewards Charitable Trust which funds a full time national coach for juniors and assists with other schemes to foster rowing for youngsters.