Pla­cen­tia to honour 1977 crew

Pre­sen­ta­tion to take place day be­fore re­gatta

The Compass - - Front Page - BY CHRIS LEWIS chris.lewis@cb­n­com­pass.ca

The 1977 Pla­cen­tia Lions Crew did two pretty in­cred­i­ble things when they com­pleted the Triple Crown of Row­ing. Not only did they fin­ish the job by win­ning the Royal St. John’s Re­gatta that year, but they also walked with their boat to the cap­i­tal city and back in trib­ute to a row­ing group that did the same 100 years be­fore them. This week, the town will honour that group a day ahead of the Pla­cen­tia Re­gatta.

The Pla­cen­tia Re­gatta will be held on Satur­day, July 22nd, but not be­fore the town pays trib­ute to the 1977 Pla­cen­tia Lions Crew.

Al­though this year marks 54 con­sec­u­tive years for he re­gatta, the sport of row­ing is one that’s lodged deep into the town’s his­tory, dat­ing back to over 140 years ago.

In 1877, as the story goes, a group of Pla­cen­tia fish­er­men car­ried their boat on their backs from Pla­cen­tia to St. John’s, where they par­tic­i­pated in and won the cham­pi­onship, car­ry­ing their boat again on the trip back.

In 1977, the Pla­cen­tia Lions Crew repli­cated this feat, car­ry­ing their own boat to St. John’s. There, the Lions won three races, in­clud­ing the Men’s Cham­pi­onship, as well as their sec­ond con­sec­u­tive Triple Crown of Row­ing, which is awarded to a team that wins the cham­pi­onship in Har­bour Grace, Pla­cen­tia, and St. John’s.

The 1977 Lions Crew con­sisted of Adrian O’Keefe, Tom Whit­tle, Bren­dan Whit­tle, An­thony Whit­tle, Frank Lan­non, Ger­ard Bar­ron, Leo Collins, and Clem Whit­tle.

On Fri­day night, July 21st, the Town of Pla­cen­tia will hold a spe­cial pre­sen­ta­tion start­ing at 8 p.m. for the Lions Crew to com­mem­o­rate 40 years since the ’77 walk. Plaques will be awarded to the mem­bers, a slideshow will be screened on­stage, and a spe­cial pre­sen­ta­tion of an en­larged photo of the crew from 1977 dur­ing their walk to St. John’s will be made.

Pres­i­dent of the Pla­cen­tia Re­gatta Com­mit­tee, Gene Collins, told The Com­pass that the crew has also been nom­i­nated to be in­ducted into the Royal St. John’s Re­gatta Hall of Fame. Along with this, the 1977 Lions Crew will be the very first nom­i­nee for a new sports hall of fame for the Pla­cen­tia area, which is still in the works.

Collins noted that a lot of prepa­ra­tion went into Fri­day night’s pre­sen­ta­tion, and spe­cially thanked spon­sors such as the Port of Ar­gen­tia, Mary Brown’s, the Pla­cen­tia Lions, and Harold and Thelma Kelly.

Collins also added that the town of Pla­cen­tia has shown great pride and recog­ni­tion for their past, and that he feels as though this com­mem­o­ra­tion is a step in the right di­rec­tion for com­mu­nity spirit.

“There’s a lot of pride in the com­mu­nity,” Collins said. “We’re al­ways get­ting phone calls, emails, and what­ever else from res­i­dents about all this, telling us how proud they are of their home and how glad they are to see that (the Lions Crew) are get­ting the proper recog­ni­tion.”

“Sport is re­ally big in our com­mu­nity,” Collins added. “I think it’s very im­por­tant to our res­i­dents that that’s rec­og­nized by other peo­ple.”

Fol­low­ing the pre­sen­ta­tion on Fri­day night, the Pla­cen­tia Re­gatta will be held on Satur­day, July 22nd.

Collins ex­plained to The Com­pass that the re­gatta will have a day’s worth of events and con­ces­sions, which in­cludes 17 races such as the Men’s and Women’s Cham­pi­onships at 6 and 6:30 p.m. re­spec­tively.

“The re­gatta is a pretty ex­cit­ing day for the town. It goes back to our pride as res­i­dents of Pla­cen­tia,” added Collins. “We’re ea­ger to rep­re­sent the town in any way we can, and to show what we’re ca­pa­ble of. It’s a day where ev­ery­one can come to­gether to en­joy each other’s com­pany, and we’re ea­ger to see the com­mu­nity come to sup­port the Lions Fri­day night as well.”

More in­for­ma­tion re­gard­ing the Pla­cen­tia Re­gatta or the 1977 Lions Crew pre­sen­ta­tion can be ac­cessed at www.pla­cen­tiare­gatta.com.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

The 1977 Pla­cen­tia Lions Crew car­ried their boat from Pla­cen­tia to St. John’s as a trib­ute to the same feat car­ried out by fish­er­men in 1877.

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