Monkton Bluefriars

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Montkon Blufriars Boat Club was founded in about 1956 by Charles Grimwade, the Master i/c Rowing at Monkton Combe School. (See article by John Ducker in the 2003 Newsletter.) Its first purpose was to act as meeting point for Old Monktonian Oarsmen, allowing them to row under Bluefriars colours ocasionally and to meet socially without interfering with their loyalties to other clubs.

School crews rowed as Bluefriars, in the holidays, during half terms and on term time Sundays.

The annual subscription in these early days was minimal - in the region of 2/6d (for the younger folks this means two shillings and 6 pence, which is exactly twelve and half pence.)

When Julian Bewick took over the Boat Club in 1970 he abolished the annual subscription for current Monktonians whilst at the same time he encouraged oarsmen who had just left the school to give what they could manage to the club regularly each year. In practice many of these young people gave between £2 and £10 annually. The hope was that when they became "rich and famous" (to quote JMB) they would increase their regular giving. Some of them have indeed done so and the club has been very grateful on their continuing generosity over the years.

Both OMs and current Monktonians have continued to row in Bluefriars crews. The Monkton Head of The River Race crews always row under Bluefriars colours. These crews are usually based on the Monkton 1st VIII but sometimes include OMs. School crews which row on a voluntary basis during term times (eg. on Sundays and at Half Terms) row as Bluefriars and Bluefriars funds pay the entry fees.

Current Monktonians may join Bluefriars once they have rowed in a voluntary crew. On joining they may purchase a Bluefriars tie from the Treasurer. When they do so he reminds them that there is no subscription for current Monktonians but that OMs are encouraged to give as generously as they can increasing their donations when they become "rich and famous".

Bluefriars funds have traditionally been used to support individuals who would find the costs of kit and training beyond their means, for occasional entertainment of crews and the buying of special items of equipment for the Boat Club.

Since 1972 an annual Head Race has been held in November at Saltford, both to give an event for competitors and to raise money for Bluefriars.

In the mid 1990s it was becoming apparent that both donations and expenditure were increasing so much that finances needed to be run more formally and this is when the Bluefriars Trust was formed.


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