By Jock McKerrell
It is with great sadness we report the death of Nigel Knight at the age of 72. Nigel had a brain tumour for some years, so we only saw him occasionally, but he was always cheerful, convivial, and the complete gentleman.
He will however, be best remembered, and very fondly, for his eccentricity. A former regular Army officer, he flew helicopters, and was notable for bringing down some power lines during an exercise and plunging a considerable area of West Germany into darkness. He is reported to have said “Oh gosh, did I ? I’m awfully sorry”.
He joined Vesta as a veteran (now called Masters) in the 90’s, and won a number of sculling races in his single and also in crews. At this time, mainly for Henley, he built a river craft. It consisted of an area of decking, supported by two oil drums. He attached an outboard engine which was steered by an old tennis racket, and fixed to the decking was his deckchair. Donned in his panama hat, blazer and whites he would then tootle up and down the Henley course. Needless to say, photos were published in the press.
Nigel was also a qualified umpire, and for a time was in charge of the Veterans’ Head. He once wrote a very funny letter in reply to a competitor complaining about unfair conditions, explaining that until we had more comprehensive rainfall records for the Thames Valley and Chilterns, and could better interpret Moon fazes, then for head races, conditions could be unfair – also published.
To complete his service to Vesta, for a time he was a faithful secretary to the Club.
He was a complete one-off and will be very sorely missed. Our heartfelt condolences go out to his wife Denise and their family.
The funeral will be on December 20th at the church of St Mary the Virgin at Mortlake at 12.00. And afterwards at the Bull’s Head in Barnes