Art commemorates the 1944 boat race
ELY mayor John Ison was at the Prickwillow Drainage Engine Museum to unveil a painting by Ely-based artist Stuart Green. As he cut the tape to reveal the work of art, Cllr Ison said: Today is the end of a five-year campaign by Diamond 44 to commemorate
ELY mayor John Ison was at the Prickwillow Drainage Engine Museum to unveil a painting by Ely-based artist Stuart Green.
As he cut the tape to reveal the work of art, Cllr Ison said: "Today is the end of a five-year campaign by Diamond 44 to commemorate the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race held on the River Great Ouse in Ely in 1944. This wonderful painting by Stuart Green shows Sandy's Cut, where the race took place all those years ago and will be a permanent reminder of the work of the Diamond 44 Community Group's work."
Diamond 44 was formed after founder members Terry Overall and Jack Waterfall wanted to find out more about the race.
Jack Waterfall told the Ely Standard: "Terry vaguely remembered talk of the race being held during World War Two in Ely and when the Jubilee Gardens were opened in February 2002, it was confirmed by the former Lord Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire, James Crowden that it took place on February 26, 1944. So we decided that we should have some form of commemoration in 2004."
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During the next two years, the group was able to find Pathe News film footage of the actual event and 10 of the surviving 1944 crew members, including Martin Whitworth, who is pictured here.
"We also managed to secure Heritage Lottery Grant funding which meant that we could provide a community event on the river on February 28, 2004, when there was a re-trial of the race rowed by Oxford and Cambridge veteran teams," said Mr Waterfall. The event was watched by a crowd of more than 5,000 spectators and some of the original crew members.
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On June 10, 2004 the group laid markers along the course, to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the first boat race in 1829. Monday's event marked the third and final phase of the lottery funding.
Stuart Green's painting shows a patchwork of fields with features of Fen landscape over the centuries.
Cllr Ison told the assembled group: "This is also a significant day in our history, marking the 60th anniversary of the height of the 1947 floods. What better place to have this wonderful picture, in a museum dedicated to drainage and landscape."
- The Prickwillow Drainage Engine Museum is celebrating its 25th anniversary with a host of events throughout the year.