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News > Deaths & Obituaries > HORNSBY, Nick


You are warmly welcomed to leave a message below, share your memories, and celebrate the life of Nick Hornsby who we sadly lost in 2020.

Nick Hornsby came to Ferox Hall in 1962. He led an active and fully rounded life at Tonbridge, enjoying everything and making his mark in many ways. He was selected for the Ist XV for three years as a prop forward. He was also a member of the Athena Society and enjoyed taking on roles in senior school plays. It was as an oarsman, however, that he was perhaps the most celebrated. Rowing was his main sport. He was Captain of the Tonbridge Boat Club and when he went up to Cambridge his rowing career flourished.  

Nick is survived by his widow Anita, sons Alex, Freddy and Philip, sister Gia Selmon and nephews Thomas and Guy.

The tribute below was written by Patrick Delafield, who was Nick’s oldest friend

Nick came up to Trinity Hall, Cambridge in the Michaelmas Term of 1966 and established himself immediately as one of the most affable and good-humoured men one could possibly hope to meet. Built like a buffalo and weighing in at something between 14 and 15 stones he was soon making a name for himself on the river and was promptly selected for the CUBC Trial Vlll's. Memory fails me as to whether he won the Trial Vlll's race of 1966, but he was immediately thereafter selected for the CUBC squad for the 1967 Boat Race. We were delighted to have him in the boat.

As (bad) luck would have it we (Cambridge) contrived to come second in the 1967 Boat Race which was, as it happened, the third element of the first Oxford hat-trick since the First World War. The collective vow to remedy this lamentable state of affairs could be heard aloud as we crossed the finish line and, with four of us returning to Cambridge the following year we had the nucleus upon which to build our revenge.

Cambridge won the 1968 Boat Race with a comfortable margin. We won the Isis v. Goldie Race as well. We went on to repeat this feat in each of the next 5 years giving us the memorable "double, double hat-trick" and Nick was a massively important physical and mental contributor to the first two years of those six. His outstandingly good nature, cool temperament, physical power and all-round good-oarsmanship were an example to all. He stood for the Presidency of the Cambridge University Boat Club for 1969 but was beaten a short canvas by Bob Winckless under whose driving determination the Cambridge Crew of 1969 went on to win in style, as the film will clearly avouch.

I never knew what Nick actually read at Cambridge - or at least I can't recall for it's over half a century ago. I'm sure he got an admirable degree. He certainly got a Triple First on the river.

We went on rowing together after Cambridge. Nick was a member of London Rowing Club, but he moved his attentions to the Tideway Scullers and we had some truly memorable international events in which we both competed. Our exertions in celebration of the completion of these brilliant events around the European Rowing circuit were every bit as admirable as what happened on the water- as many a European brewer would nostalgically confirm. We rowed in the GB VIII in Copenhagen for the 1971 European Championships where our lack of racing achievement was more than made up for by our enthusiastic embracing of the Copenhagen atmosphere - notably the products of a local brewery company called Carlsberg (after the racing, of course).

The 1972 Munich Olympics were the next major international event, but I don't think Nick quite made the selection. The selectors decided, in their unquestionable wisdom, not to send an VIII, otherwise he would surely have been in it. He should have been there, but that's life. In any event one's rowing career was inevitably foreshortened in those days by the simple, stark reality of having to earn a living. There was no subsidy. We had to cover all our own expenses, except travel to international competitions and, I suppose it's obvious, employers required their employees to earn their wages.

Nick was elected a member of The Archetypals, a colourful group of Cambridge oarsmen who have demonstrated outstanding rowing ability, brilliant character and geniality and the ability to know, from remarkable experience, that Rowing, universally recognised as by far the most physiologically demanding sport of all is, after all, a physical pastime best enjoyed in the company of good friends on the bank with a glass in one's hand. Nick was a veritable Champion of the Thames, as any Cambridge King Street Runner would tell you......................................

(FH 60-65)



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