History of BPJR

In March 2009 Nick Kenworthy-Browne and I were taking a break between coaching sessions at our Beginners Centre in Hinksey Park and found ourselves talking about the racing prospects, or lack of them, for our 13 year old athletes and below.  At one point Nick turned to me and said “why not a Regatta on the lake at Blenheim?”.  Why not indeed so we decided Nick would make contact.

Nick went back to the next coaching session and I turned towards the boat store where I found Ann Bevan, the mother of one of our athletes, standing next to a bright and shiny new bicycle.  We fell into conversation about bike technology and it turned out that she is a Triathlete and was in training for the 2009 Blenheim Triathlon that coming June.  I mumbled something to the effect that she was lucky to be using that water because Nick and I had just decided to ask the Palace if we could run an event there.  Ann looked at me and said “perhaps I can help, I know the Marketing Director”.  In the course of less than 5 minutes and 2 separate conversations, this event was conceived.

For a gestation period of something marginally over 12 months one might have used the word “miraculous” when looking at the inaugural  2010 Regatta racing schedule. However there was no miracle, after those 5 minutes in Hinksey Park, concerning the way subsequent events unfolded.  All that was required was a huge amount of hard work by dozens of people far too numerous to mention individually.

The numbers of volunteers who help every year is enormous. However, we must personally mention Blenheim Palace’s Operations Director, Roy Cox, who works tirelessly to ensure BPJR runs smoothly in the Palace grounds.  Without our volunteers' considerable efforts, what you see at BPJR every year could not happen.

The Future - The entry numbers this year, our 8th event as we were unable to run in 2012 &n 2014,  are moving forward and new names are appearing.  We have changed the original layout of the course and added a second launching platform for ease of boating and de boating crews.

I hope this day’s event provides a really good platform to build on for the future and that competitors and spectators alike will provide us with feed back as we look to develop systems which will safely accommodate more of the youngsters involved in this growing group of the J10 to J14B category.

John Broadhurst, Chairman of Hinksey Sculling School.