It saddens me deeply to write that Mick Deards, a Vice President and past Captain of the Club lost his battle against cancer when he died on Thursday 5th October.
Mick joined Star Club in the late 1970’s, thereby commencing a lifelong attachment to rowing, in the course of which he distinguished himself both as an oarsman and a coach.
Under the guidance of Kevan Armstrong, Mick quickly shed his novice status, winning in a coxed four with Pete Mulkerrins. He was soon a member of the First Eight, winning the Jackson Trophy at the Head of the River Race three times in the years 1982-1984. He competed at Henley Royal Regatta on numerous occasions as a member of Star Club’s Thames Cup Eights. Moreover, he holds the distinction of being the only member of the Club to have competed in the Diamond Sculls, racing in 1986 and 1988.
As his reputation grew, he became a member of the National Lightweight Squad, then rowing as Notts County Rowing Association. Squad membership required rigorous training and dedication to the cause, not least evidenced by the need for him to commute regularly on the 200 mile round trip in order to train at Holme Pierrepoint. Such dedication was Mick’s hallmark, which he transferred into his role as a professional rowing coach, firstly at Bedford High School and latterly at Bedford Girls’ School.
As a coach Mick was highly respected and guided many athletes to international success. Ellie Piggott, honoured guest at our forthcoming Annual Awards Dinner achieved selection for the Junior World Championships under Mick’s care. A former World Champion and Under 23 World Champion, Mick continued to be a mentor to her long after leaving School.
Anyone who had the privilege of rowing with or being coached by Mick would describe him as a real character, highly talented, supremely determined, amusing and kind. His presence on the riverbank, his pony tail bobbing from side to side as he cycles and coaches his crews will be sorely missed.
Well rowed Mick.
The funeral arrangements for Mick Deards are as follows:
Monday 23rd October 2017 at 10:45am
No formal dress is required.
No floral tributes are requested for Mick but a donation to charity is welcome.
The charity is The Rowing Foundation