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Canterbury Pilgrims News

Raymond Butt (Common Room 1968-98) died of cancer on 23 March 2018, aged 77.  

Raymond was an outstanding teacher of Physics and Astronomy, became a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society (and taught the first British-born astronaut), became much involved in the Physics Olympiad, and coached Rowing and Sculling with passion. He could recite Pi to at least 3,500 places and knew by heart the entire UK railway timetable.

A full Obituary and a Tribute from the Chairman of the Pilgrims will appear on the OKS website.

Please see the below appreciation written by Dr. Clive Killick

Raymond Butt – an Appreciation

 The man who taught an engineer to row and a rower to be an engineer
Dr. Clive Killick (Walpole 1967-1972)

In the autumn of 1969, I was in my first year of A-level physics at KSC and emerging as the stroke of the school J-16 Rowing VIII. Looking back now it is clear to me that I was really struggling in both roles and it was Raymond Butt who came to the rescue. He had joined the staff one year before and I believe this was his first year of coaching a School level crew. I have no idea why I was asked to stroke the crew; my friend and later Captain of Boats and School, Michael DeStyrcea would have been a far better choice. Apparently, he saw something in me I didn’t. I was sure I was doing a lot wrong particularly in the elusive skill of slide control and rhythm. To put it simply, I did not know how to make a boat run between strokes which, as all rowers know, is the key to boat speed. I was also looking at a pretty low grade in Alevel physics and, as my teacher, he was well aware of that. The masterstroke was to combine the two problems. He embarked on a series of physics tutorials where he used the elements of the rowing stroke to explain the fundamentals of physics. He was years ahead of his time in rowing technique and it is the ultimate irony that a few weeks after his death the English public were entertained by Australian and sadly just a few English crews winning at Henley Royal Regatta, rowing a style based entirely on his physics analysis. His starting premise and the basis of changes in rowing style since the Rio Olympics was that the most effective way to move a boat through water fast was to work on a continuous smooth acceleration throughout the rowing stroke such that the boat was moving at its fastest speed at the end of the stroke. Then crucially, leaving the boat to run smoothly using the momentum generated. This means the rowers pause for a split second at the finish. You may think that’s fine and sounds logical but believe me, it was revolutionary in 1969. The physics, so far, was relatively straightforward but he definitely had me interested. I have always been a bit of a rebel and the prospect of challenging rowing orthodoxy with scientific fact was guaranteed to appeal. Raymond, of course, knew that and I suspect approved.

The objective of Raymond’s preferred rowing technique was to minimise changes in boat speed throughout the recovery phase of the stroke, but I am not going to bore you with the detail or indeed run the risk of a real physicist pointing out errors. At King’s, the crew got faster, my physics marks gradually improved, I got a reasonable A level and headed off to UCL to read Chemical Engineering. As time went on I won a few (very few) races and when I returned to UCL for a Ph.D., I started coaching the College Men’s and then the University Women’s Crew and Thames Rowing Club. I must have enjoyed at least some of it, despite the cold of an early morning at Putney or Chiswick, because this year I have my 50th anniversary as a rower and approach my 40th as a coach including five years in Brisbane. I have no idea how many crews I have coached over that period but sometime each year every crew has been forced to endure a physics lecture and a eulogy about a remarkable teacher and rowing man from my school days. I always used to look for him in the Stewards Enclosure at Henley Regatta to talk about my latest crew and thank him for how he changed my life academically and also introduced me to a lifelong obsession. As I write this at 64, I am looking at my clock to make sure I leave home in time to get to Hereford RC to coach their evening session. I last met him at Henley in 2016 when I came back to UK to enter a crew of Australian women in Henley Masters Regatta and then to pop down to Herefordshire the day after, with the whole crew, to marry Kath who rowed in the two seat. I met Raymond as usual in the Stewards Enclosure wearing his Fitzwilliam College blazer and straw hat. I told him then that his ideas about rowing technique were being talked about again in the highest circles in Australia. I was treated to one of his trademark head-back loud laughs and some self-depreciative comment about fooling some of the people some of the time. I missed the 2017 regatta when some world level crews began to change their technique, but I was determined to tease and praise him about the effect his ideas were having at the 2018 regatta in early July. I believe that would have been his 50th year as a member of the Henley Stewards Enclosure. Sadly, he missed the regatta by a few months and I had to content myself with sitting in the Grandstand watching the Australian national men’s and women’s crews and a few UK crews winning their events with a pause at the finish, even if it was barely discernible at a rating of 40. Many, many people say this about their school teachers, but I cannot express the gratitude I feel to Raymond Butt who cared enough to recognise how to motivate me and then took the time to make it happen. Rowing was clearly just one of the remarkable achievements in his life, but his name will live on for this as well as everything else. Last November one of my University of Queensland master’s crew, an ex-international rower, who is a teacher and school coach in Brisbane sat down with me after the ‘talk’ and went through all the details again, so he could teach it to his school crews. I made sure he took a note of Raymond’s name. 

Update on the EGM 2017

This is the formal notice convening the EGM.

Supporting papers can be viewed below;

The formal business of the Pilgrims EGM comprises:

(i) the proposal to change the Pilgrims’ constitution to the new constitution as circulated in order to become compliant with British Rowing requirements, and apply to change the Pilgrims into a Charitable Incorporated Organisation of the same name (a “CIO”) that would subsequently be regulated by the Charities Commission;

(ii) a vote on the election of First Trustees of the CIO and

(iii) a vote to approve the actions proposed in the Westbere Lakes Project Paper dated 12viii2017

A list of the motions is on page 2 of this letter, and you should bring this list with you when you come to the EGM.

The formal business will be preceded by a discussion of the briefing papers, first a recommendation by your committee for acceptance of the new constitution as drafted and the conversion to a CIO, and second a report on the Westbere Lakes project, produced by Nigel Press. The meeting will conclude in time to attend the KSC Boat Club dinner, scheduled for 7.30 p.m. that evening.

You will find a link to the Form of Proxy to be used in connection with voting at the EGM here - once completed please send to e.pearson@gpb.eu.

It is important to us that eligible members have the opportunity to vote even if they are unable to come. If you are unable to attend the EGM you can use the link to the Form of Proxy to nominate someone else to come to the meeting and vote. You can, if you wish, nominate Ewan Pearson, Pilgrims’ Chairman to vote on your behalf in accordance with your instructions.

To appoint a Proxy you need to be a member that has paid their current year subscriptions, then you must complete and send back the Form of Proxy as soon as possible and in any event so as to arrive no later than 5.30 p.m. on Thursday 7th September, being 48 hours before the time appointed for holding the EGM.

By order of the Pilgrims’ Executive Committee

Ewan Pearson, Chairman, The Canterbury Pilgrims Boat Club


Notice is hereby formally given of an EGM of The Canterbury Pilgrims Boat Club (CPBC), to be held in The Boardroom, Lattergate, at the King’s School, Canterbury, at 5pm on Saturday 9th September 2017.

The King’s School Boat Club Annual Dinner and Prize Giving shall be held at 7pm that evening in Birleys’ Pavilion, and members are welcome to stay on for that. If so, they should contact Kirsty Mason at the OKS office to book a place at oks@kings-school.co.uk. There is no cost for attending he EGM, and the dinner costs £35.00 per person.


This EGM has been called by the club’s committee for two reasons:

  1.  In order to discuss, and if thought fit, to approve the conversion of CPBC into a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) of the same name; it would become regulated by the Charities Commission. In order to execute this change, the club’s Constitution, already in need of an update, would be amended as required in order to comply with charity regulations, and First Trustees would be appointed. Paid up, Ex-officio and Honorary members of the CPBC would be transferred across to become the equivalent members of the CIO.  The club’s bank details would not change, but new standing order forms, now with a section on Gift Aid, would need to be completed. The reason for this conversion is to increase the CPBC’s ability to fulfil its objectives, where currently are:
  2.  To review a paper to be presented by Nigel Press on the support that CPBC could offer the KSC Boat Club in achieving its aims, specifically by providing financial and other support for plans to extend the rowing lake at Westbere, and if thought fit to approve the plans within that paper.
    1. The fostering of fellowship amongst the membership
    2. To promote and encourage rowing at The King’s School, Canterbury


Members who are eligible to vote will be sent - by email in due course - the agenda for the EGM, a draft of the new constitution, the new standing order form, and a proxy voting form. Members who do not have email are requested to write to the Chairman to request these EGM papers by post, ensuring that a suitable address for delivery of the papers is clearly mentioned. The Club Chairman’s details are: Ewan Pearson, Beech Cottage, London Road, Hartley Wintney, Hampshire, RG27 8RN, Tel 07712 134 636.

Members wishing to check if their membership subscription is up to date should if possible contact the Chairman by email at e.pearson@gpb.eu, or as above by post.

AGM and Dinner 2017

The AGM and dinner will be held at London Rowing Club, Putney, on 23rd March, 2017, the evening of the Schools' Head.

The AGM will be at 6pm with the dinner following at 8pm. If you are able to attend please let Ewan know. There is a charge of £30 for the dinner which can either be paid online or sent in cheque form. 

Contact Ewan for full details ewan@canterburypilgrims.com


KSCBC Dinner 13th September 2014

A dinner was held at St. Augustine's Undercroft on 13th September attended by The President of CPBC, the Head Master and Deputy Head, The CPBC chairman, The Director of Rowing, The Captains of Boats, OKS, staff, coaches and pupils.

There was a very supportive speech from the HM followed by an interesting and highly inspriational speech from Fred Scarlett (LN 1988 -93) Olympic 8+ gold medalist.


     Fred Scarlett showing off his 'bling' to new OKS Nick Hastings

Canterbury Pilgrims at Henley

On Saturday 5th July 2014, The Canterbury Pilgrims Boat Club met at their usual spot at the King's School BC/ Pilgrims marquee in the Cricket Field at Henley Royal Regatta. A good number of young and older members and their guests turned out to enjoy the annual reunion. The event was blessed with clear skies and a perfect summer's day. Pimm's weather, blazers and summer dresses with top quality sport to match.

With the continued revival of King's rowing under Director of Rowing and Head Coach, Jon Williamson, it was good to see a number of current pupils and parents in attendance. Over the next few years we can expect even more; and as the 1st VIII continues its rise up the ranks we look forward to seeing King’s racing once again on finals day on the Sunday of Henley Regatta. Parent support is important in any school activity and especially in competitive sports. With more parents showing an interest this year, the Pilgrims are keen to encourage the revival of a regular parents' group for Henley and other regattas. With this in mind, King's parent James Best-Shaw, father of Harry who was recently appointed Captain of Boats at the School for 2014-15, has agreed to take on the role of parents' co-ordinator and interested parents are encouraged to get in touch via King's.                                      

Many thanks are due to the numerous people who helped out with the marquee and catering, especially Sarah Rudkin, the President’s wife Mary Brown, Jon Williamson’s wife Lex and Chairman Ewan Pearson who supplied a very handsome poached salmon. A special thanks also to Kirsty Mason of the OKS office who made a sterling effort to ensure everyone had plenty to eat as well as the means to eat with and a marquee to eat in. OKS President Charlotte Pragnell sent her regrets and was represented by her father Hubert.

Next year it is planned to hold two events in the marquee with King's BC hosting on Wednesday and Pilgrims BC on Saturday. On both days all will be welcome and details will be on the OKS (oks.org.uk) and Pilgrims websites.

On Wednesday 2nd July, the opening day of the Regatta, The Headmaster, Peter Roberts, attended a lunch hosted by the chairman of the Henley Regatta Committee, Mike Sweeney. Afterwards Peter met a number of Pilgrims and OKS to discuss rowing at King's. Also present were the recently appointed School Captain of Boats, Harry Best-Shaw and his father James.

Unfortunately Peter was unable to see the School in action at Henley this year, as the young, development crew narrowly failed to qualify, although no doubt learning much from the qualifying races. However he enjoyed his first visit to Henley Regatta and it is hoped that there will be plenty more occasions in the future when he will be able to cheer on the VIII at Henley.

Joe Phillips (MR/LN 1983-88)

Canterbury Representative, The Canterbury Pilgrims Boat Club


Pilgrims AGM 2012 and Schools' Head

The Pilgrims AGM and Supper was held on Tuesday 20th March at London Rowing Club, Putney Embankment, SW15 1LB, following the Schools' Head of the River Race earlier in the day. Jon Williamson, the new Director of Rowing, brought many of the school boat club to the meeting and supper. Jon is planning to take an VIII to the Head of the Charles in Boston, Massachusetts in the Fall.



John Whalley

It is with great sadness that we report that John Whalley died peacefully on 23rd January 2010, aged 88 years.
His funeral takes place at Tenterden on 28th January.

Peter Ament

It is with great sadness that we report that Peter Ament died on 22nd February 2008. His funeral service was held on 6th March 2008 at Guildford Crematorium, attended by many, including OKS and Pilgrims. Peter was the driving force behind the Canterbury Pilgrims as Chairman and President and is greatly missed. We offer our deepest sympathy to his wife D and his family.

Anthony West's address, made at Peter's funeral appears here.

Obituary by Jan Balwill and Mike Brown appears here.


Edward Beaugie Memorial Award

The Edward Beaugie Memorial Medal is awarded annually to an outstanding sports man or woman at King's Canterbury. The medal was established in 2000, and is awarded to individuals who show outstanding achievement, contribution and leadership to the school and their team. The award is made by a sub-committee of The Canterbury Pilgrims that includes a member of the Beaugie family and heads of sport at King's, who together consider nominations each year, but do not always make an award. This underlines the excellence required to win. In the nine years 2000-2008, eight medals were won, across six sports. The large bronze medals are awarded by the Headmaster at Speech Day. The award is made by the Beaugie family, in memory of Edward, who was Captain of Boats at King's Canterbury and rowed in the 1st VIII in the Princess Elizabeth Cup at Henley. Edward was a member of the Canterbury Pilgrims Boat Club. Click the link for a list of nominees and winners.