• Tribute to Keith Osborne 1921 - 2016

    Keith Osborne 1921 - 2016

    President of Royal Chester Rowing Club

    It is with deep regret that Royal Chester Rowing Club announces the sad passing of their president Keith Osborne.

    Keith arrived in Chester in the summer of 1967 having been transferred from Shell's office in London to be the Training Manager at their Stanlow Refinery and with his passion for rowing soon joined Royal Chester; Keith was already known by some members as he and his crew from Lensbury RC beat the Royals coxless four in the finals of the Wyfold Challenge Cup at Henley Royal Regatta in 1949. Keith, who was at this time Editor of the British Rowing Almanac a post which he held until 2010, was quickly elected to post of Treasurer of the Club - a position he held for 30 years. His volunteer role enabled him to oversee the club through many a financial crisis, and helped, often in secret, to buy boats we would otherwise not have afforded. Keith also was the collator of archives for Royal Chester and published books which detail our history from the beginnings of the club in 1838. In recognition of his unending passion and service to rowing he was rewarded in 1987 with the ARA Medal of Honour.

    Keith was instrumental in setting up the Junior Section and continued to lead by example, coaching juniors until he could no longer safely get into and out of a coaching launch. Keith inspired and supported our current Junior Coordinator, Michal Palamarczuk, in his endeavours to become a junior coach and bring junior rowing to the youth of Chester and North Wales. Even after his retirement from coaching Keith always kept a close eye on the juniors.

    It was his foresight which encouraged the club to change its rules so that Ladies could become full rowing members. He was amongst the small group of members who first suggested relocating the club to a new site in the late 1980's a vision that is finally coming to fruition.

    His enduring legacy is the creation of the Royal Chester Trust Fund which allows the club to support junior rowing, most particularly those from less well-off backgrounds. Through the support of the Trust Fund, of which he was a founder, the Club has been able to buy numerous boats as well as support a number of boys and girls in their endeavours to achieve their potential, including competing for GB at Junior and Senior World levels.

    The juniors, some of whom will be competing this coming weekend at the British Rowing Junior Championships in Nottingham, have decided to dedicate their weekend efforts to Keith and will attend his funeral to provide the guard of honour.

    He will be greatly missed by the Club he loved so much and by all who came into contact with him.

    Keith’s funeral will be on Thursday 14th July at St Peter's Church, Waverton at 2:15pm followed by committal at the crematorium. There will be a reception afterwards at Cheshire View, Plough Lane, Christleton. Donations in lieu of flowers to The Royal Chester Trust or The KRH Museum.

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