Opening of the New Boathouse in 2001

In response to repeated requests from social historians, psychiatrists, academics and the general public, here is the text of the speech delivered by Mr Bryan Steel (the one on the left) at the opening of the new ASRA Boathouse on 10th March 2001.

bryansteveSo finally ASRA has its own Boathouse! I know that many of you thought it would never happen and in our darkest days even the ASRA Committee began to have its doubts. It is almost 10 years ago that we first secured the promise of a lease of land adjacent to the University and after a gestation period which would rank equal to that of the most resolute of pachyderms and an eleventh-hour parturition fraught with every possible complication known to man and the building trade (twelve calendar months have passed since the initial sod-cutting), here we have it - ASRA's new permanent home.

It is my duty today to recognise publicly the enormous debt of gratitude we owe to a host of people, without whose input this facility would never have been built. Firstly our thanks to Barclay Braithwaite and the Aberdeen Harbour Board for leasing us a plot on the river bank to get our project underway. Then our thanks go to David Scobie and the sportscotland Lottery Fund who put the initial funding in place for what was conceived originally as a one storeyed building. Then but for the vast injection of funds by Aberdeen Asset Management and Andrew Laing the project would still have collapsed, since all our budgeting had been based on the one-floored facility.

Our grateful thanks then to Andrew and his team then for having enough faith in what we were trying to do to give us their prestigious backing. On the other hand, let us not forget however the part played in the whole project by the smaller backers who with their donations, interest free loans and fund-raising drives helped ASRA to put up some £35,000 on its own account. Our thanks to all of them!

Our thanks too to our long suffering architect, Richard Hughson of Grampian Design Associates for his patience and fortitude during the long building works. Nothing less of course is expected of an ex-ASRA man! Here there should begin an endless list of those people who have slaved particularly in the last three months to get this building ready on time. Please forgive me if I miss anyone out! Thanks to our Committee - Alan Lawrie, Ian Duncan, Bob Newton, Ed Rebecca and parents Stuart & Ann Vallance, Simpson Buglass, Martin Steed and John Anderson who turned their hands to any and every job that presented itself, from carcass-joinery to electrical work to painting. Our thanks too to the many people who came across from Aberdeen Boat Club to lend a hand - Drew Henry, Chris Campbell, George Owen (Dod the Painter) Rick McTaggart and gang, and Aude Chaiban to mention but a few. Penultimately our thanks to our wives and partners for not dragging us through the divorce courts - yet. Finally our thanks to Sir Steve - the greatest living practitioner of our sport - for making the long journey North to preside at the official opening of our Clubhouse and for making this day unforgettable for all of us - young athletes and officials alike. I thank you!