Hopefully very few readers of this article won’t know who Alan Francis is. If you aren’t sure and are at Roodeplaat dam take a walk down to the waters edge and look for a plaque – the course is named after this incredible man and for good reason.
Over and above what he did for South African rowing, he was probably the most dedicated servant and leader to the Jeppe Rowing Club. After coaching the Jeppe 1st eight to victory in 1981 the boys felt compelled to make him his own trophy. Not buy… the boys got together in woodwork and metal shop and created a trophy worthy of the man.
I’m guessing at the actual year, but I think it was 1995 Mr. Francis was once again blue caravan in toe at the Jeppe rowing camp out at Orkney Vaal (I don’t think he missed a camp ever). On the closing evening he asked the teacher in charge, Mrs.. Lamorna Cantina if he could say a few words. He then proceeded to relive that race and express with tears rolling down his sun hardened cheeks his gratitude for this unique trophy he had enjoyed all the years. He then, as you would expect from such a great man donated it back to the club to be presented to any person related to the club that went above and beyond…….between parents, coaches, teachers and boys there wasn’t a dry eye under the lapa.
To this day there is always a boat named Alicat in the Jeppe Rowing shed. Long may we remember such a wonderful man.