Stationers take bronze at biggest-ever Inter-Livery Ski Championships
Four days of cloudless skies with almost no wind and near-perfect snow conditions welcomed the 13 skiers assembled by captain of the Stationers’ team, Martin Woodhead, to compete among the 169 competitors who congregated at Morzine, France from 16 to 20 January for the eighth Inter-Livery Ski Championships.
Stationers were one of 26 livery companies and one past masters association taking part, a record, as was the number of competitors. While there is inevitably a tendency for competitiveness to dominate - these are races after all - a great deal of effort is taken to maintain the social and fun elements.
(From Left to Right: Andy Jones, Richard Brewster, Penny Woodhead, Oliver Gadsby and Martin Woodhead)
As proclaimed on the now very professional website: “Standards in previous years have varied from outstanding to appalling - and we hope this will continue!’
Despite being in the running most years for having the fastest team with an aggregate age of 200+ and the Stationers’ prize of an increasingly sought-after teddy bear named Lucky, this year we were not even shortlisted - a telling sign of increasing age of the regular competitors. It has to be said that the Mercers’ (apparently) recruited a septuagenarian especially to help win the prize, nevertheless won by the Ironmongers.
Not to be outdone the Stationers took bronze medals in third place for the fastest Court team - and Past Master Richard Brewster with Court Assistants Nick Mockett and Trevor Fenwick were to be seen (from L-R) proudly sporting their medals during the final evening.
In the rankings over two days of skiing, newcomer Liveryman Andy Jones led the way for the Stationers with a commendable 64th place, followed by Martin de la Bedoyere, another Freeman and Court Assistant Nick Mockett as our third fastest skier in 93rd place. These three each received a teddy bear cousin of Lucky at a Stationers’ prize giving which recognised a number of “achievements”. Trevor Fenwick carved in at 97th while Naomi Jones, skiing as a Stationers’ guest, made 102nd. Past Master Richard Brewster followed closely at 113 with Liveryman Bob Findlay, chairman of the Company’s educational partners Leigh Academies Trust, at 116. Another newcomer to the team, Liveryman Graham Bond, led the rest of the Stationers’ group of Court Assistant Oliver Gadsby, Liverymen Rodney Mountford and Nigel Southey and Past Master Ian Locks who brought up the rear of the team placed 150th and proudly sporting a free septuagenarian’s ski pass.
After doing all the organisation for Stationers’ participation, being one of three, with Trevor Fenwick and Martin De La Bedoyere, kindly offering hospitality in their chalets and ferrying his charges hither and thither Martin Woodhead was unable to compete due to a back injury. He said: “It was a bother for me as I would love to have skied but the important thing was that all appeared to have a good time, our scores were most creditable and there was great camaraderie, not only among those competing under the Stationers’ banner but with other Livery Companies taking part.”
Organiser Christopher Hudson (Ironmongers) said thought was being given on how to enable even more to take part next year as this time there had been a waiting list and the growth curve continued relentlessly.