Newnham College Boat Club’s new boat named Millicent Garrett Fawcett

In the 100th anniversary year of the first women gaining the right to vote, Millicent Garrett Fawcett slipped into the chilly waters of the Cam – in the form of Newnham College Boat Club’s latest addition to the fleet.

Our new boat was funded by a donation from one of our alumnae, Catherine Bell (NC 1964), former President of CUWBC and matched by funding from the JCR equipment fund. Other alumnae have generously donated to the prospective purchase of a new scull and towards the cost of coaching, remembering their own days in the Boat Club: the chilly 6am cycle to the boathouse, the icy mornings spent on the river, the glorious afternoon outings of summer term, their first outing and their first bump.

It has always been the aim of NCBC to accommodate everyone, no matter what their previous experience, ability or commitment level. From our high-flying seniors, to the novice who wants to try rowing for a term “just to give it a go”, NCBC aims to be a place where everyone has a home.

Millie follows the 2015 purchase of a new first VIII named Rosalind Franklin. Frank, as she’s affectionately known, has made a huge difference to the training of our first boat. Indeed, she’s somewhat of a lucky charm with a total of ‘up 7’ across the three Lent and three May Bumps she’s raced for NCBC since we got her in May 2015. She’ll now be NCBC second crew’s VIII.

As NCBC currently has rack space for only four boats, Millie’s purchase meant selling our oldest VIII, “Andy Silk” – an ex-CUWBC boat which had raced for Cambridge as the Blondie (reserve) crew’s boat in the early 2000’s. Andy was sold to someone who refurbishes boats, so it’s nice that he’ll see a new lease of life.

The current Boat Club members were particularly pleased that their success has been funded by the Gryphens – the past NCBC members. Newnham has a strong sense of what it means to be part of a community and Newnhamites are fantastic at giving back, enabling a new generation to have these very special experiences.

The naming ceremony took place on Saturday 5th May, with alumnae returning for the event, and an excellent speech by Dr Emma Mawdsley, Fellow of the College, Director of the Margaret Anstee Centre and Senior Treasurer of the Boat Club.

Thanks to Hannah Jones for all photography.