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In recognition of 40 years voluntary work, the Amateur Rowing Association, now British Rowing, has presented Geoffrey Brook, our Provincial Grand Secretary, with the prestigious British Rowing Medal of Honour for ‘Outstanding Service to the Sport of Rowing’, most especially for his efforts on behalf of junior (U18) athletes and as Secretary of Logistics for three World Championships held in Nottingham in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
For the last 25 years, Geoff has been closely identified as the face of the Coupe de la Jeunesse (U18 Junior B European Championships), as Secretary-General for 13 years and then as President for 12 years, working very closely with Patrick Rombaut (Belgium) to develop and raise the event to the status it now holds within international rowing. Many national junior events were originally formulated and organised by Geoff: the Inter-Regional Championships, the Anglo-French Match and the now defunct regional coaching visits. He also established the present junior international selection process back in 1976 for the first national composite crews to represent Great Britain. Geoff has also represented junior rowing on the ARA’s Executive Council as well as acting as Secretary to the Junior Rowing Commission, on three occasions, and as its Chairman on another two occasions.
Added to all that, he has managed five
Junior World Championship teams and
spent five years as Team Manager of the
Great Britain Coupe de la Jeunesse team.
This year was the 28th consecutive Coupe
event that Geoff has attended and he was
called on to act as Secretary-General as
Christian Stofer (Switzerland) was then on
duty in Rio de Janeiro as part of the Swiss
Olympic delegation. As well as managing junior teams abroad, Geoff has been involved as a member of the International Selection Board for junior and senior teams; a member of the British Rowing Competitor’s Appeal Panel; has managed the U23s and a senior non-Olympic World Championship team, was a volunteer at the pre-Olympic Regatta in 2011 and a ‘Games Maker’ at the Olympics in 2012 at Dorney Lake in Berkshire. Unfortunately a second half knee replacement meant that he was unable to complete his quota of shifts at Dorney Lake and
the Athletes Village at Royal Holloway College, as walking by then was almost impossible.
Geoff’s full time job during most of this period was as a teacher for 34 years. During that time he was a Head of Department at Shrewsbury School and, for the last 18 years, a Head of Department at Winchester College. Other voluntary activity during his teaching career included holding a Territorial Army Commission in the Combined Cadet Force for several years, rising to the rank of acting Major. One highlight was commanding
a British CCF party that spent a month working alongside Canadian Cadets at their highly regarded Cadet Centre in Banff. Other trips organised and commanded by him included one to Germany, where the groups were hosted by the Royal Welch Fusiliers and the Blues & Royals. When not abroad, he was actively involved in both Shrewsbury School and Winchester College annual CCF summer camps and as an Assistant Directing Staff officer at the Cadet Training Centre in Frimley.
He was also a successful rowing coach with several of his athletes competing for GB in the Junior World Championships, Coupe de la Jeunesse and the Anglo-French match. His greatest success came when his Winchester College four beat Cambridge University’s Goldie B and University of York, equalling the Barrier Record, in the Visitors Cup at Henley; but lost to Goldie A in the semi-final, who were the bow four of the Cambridge University Boat Race crew. As a runner, he regularly competed in age group triathlons, including racing in Noose, Australia, but was forced to give up following knee problems after the 2006 London Marathon.
His masonic career has been no less full since he was initiated into William of Wykeham Lodge in 1990. He is also a
member of London and Surrey lodges, and has been Master in all of them. A natural administrator, he also served them as Treasurer and Secretary, and is still serving as Secretary of William of Wykeham. Following a year as Provincial Deputy Grand Registrar and Metropolitan Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies, he was appointed to Grand rank in June 2012 and he took up appointment as Hampshire and Isle of Wight Provincial Grand Secretary in July 2013.
100 years after it was last held in July 1914, the Borough Council revived the annual Grand Parade of Bournemouth School Children. The original event in 1905 marked the occasion when the County Borough Council became the local Education Authority. The then Director of Education, Frank Ibbett who was a prominent local freemason, persuaded the Council to take responsibility and pay for the parade, which would culminate in a fete at Meyrick Park with all kinds of entertainment for the children. On the day in 1905, many of schoolchildren, led by the Mayor, Councillors and representatives of local groups including freemasons in full regalia participated and the festivities at Meyrick Park were attended by masses of enthusiastic local people.
Frank Ibbett joined the Council in 1902 and rose to become Chief Education Officer. He retired in 1935 and died 3 years later in 1938. Amongst his achievements were the building of many local schools, most particularly Alma Road, Westbourne, Boscombe, Stourfield, Winton, Moordown, Kinson and others
including the Bournemouth School, the Bournemouth School for Girls and the Municipal College. He also championed the rights of disabled children to a proper education.
The Children’s Day Parade 100 years on, held on 24 July 2014, started at Bournemouth Pier and finished at Meyrick Park, where a fun-filled day of entertainment was laid on. The procession, formed of thousands of local schoolchildren, parents and teachers wound its way through the lower gardens to the Square, where it was joined by the Mayor in a horse drawn carriage. Over 50 gowned Town Councillors took part in the procession, accompanied by the town’s marching band, representatives of local groups, and Hampshire and Isle of Wight freemasons led by the Provincial Grand Master, also in full regalia. Rodney Dale 5 Insight • Issue 8

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