On Monday 21st January 1980 a tragic fire occurred at the Anchor Inn, Eaton Hastings (picture below), which resulted in the deaths of the Landlord, his partner & fiancee. At the time of the fire I was the Commodore of The Anchor Boat Club, which led to a considerable involvement with Sir Dawson Bates of the National Trust.
It was obvious from the start that the trust had no intention of rebuilding the pub, they also limited the number of boats to 25 and NO winter storage facilities! The upkeep of the area was also made the responsibility of the club. So, like many others, I eventually moved out, ending up at Buscot Lock for 2 years until I found moorings at Radcot in 1983.
My first observation at Radcot was the complete lack of friendship between the boaters on the three mooring sites. So in 1985, with the help of Brian Jackson and George Wiffen it was decided to form ‘The Swan (Radcot) Cruiser Club’ with Peter Williams (then landlord of the Swan) as President and myself as Commodore. The inaugural meeting was held at The Swan with an initial membership of 25.
The first priority was Winter storage, which was kindly given to us by Andrew Hichen, on one of his fields at Grafton Lock. This stroke of luck allowed the club to take off, building up to a membership of 80 by 1993, with Dennis Fairall now the President. The membership covers the river from Lechlade to King's Lock, which is a considerable area for a small club and ensures a steady flow of new members.
In 1993 I retired as Commodore and Brian Jackson took over for one year after which, Chris Winter was elected.
In conclusion, with your continued support, the club will continue to thrive as long as there are boats on the river.
Editors Notes: John was elected Life President at the 1995 AGM
Sadly, John Cole died in August 2015 and Dennis Hill was elected as President at the 2015 AGM. Dennis passed away in April 2017.
A new president is yet to be elected.