Charles far from blue as Cambridge row to Boat Race victory

The Cambridge University Boat Race team
The Cambridge University Boat Race team

A young man has made his Burnley family proud by rowing to victory for Cambridge University in The Boat Race.

Charles Fisher (21) was the youngest team member in Cambridge’s “Light Blue Boat” on Easter Sunday, when a live television audience saw his crew wrestle Oxford’s recent stranglehold on the historic race.

It was a great achievement for Charles being the youngest in his team and only one of two undergraduates.

John Fisher

His proud father John, who was born and bred in Burnley, cheered him on with other relatives from the sidelines.

John said: “We are immensely proud of Charles, it is a stunning achievement, especially considering he was the youngest in the Cambridge crew.”

The win for Charles and his Cambridge pals was satisfying for a number of reasons, not least that tricky conditions in the Thames had earlier almost led to the Cambridge Women’s crew sinking.

John added: “Good preparation from the Cambridge team and coach Steve Trapmore really helped to secure the victory.

“Charles said the conditions were difficult and key was keeping the boat balanced. I’ve rowed that stretch myself many times, but it is one thing to row it and another to race it.”

Charles, who is reading history at Cambridge’s St John’s College, had previously won a gold medal rowing for Great Britain at junior level.

John added: “It was a great achievement for Charles being the youngest in his team and only one of two undergraduates.

“We are all very proud of him including his grandmother Kathleen Fisher who now lives in Clitheroe.

“Two of Charles’ siblings Juliette and James went to Oxford University, but they were cheering him on.

“Charles really enjoyed the experience and would like to compete again, but everyone starts with a blank canvas next year.”

For Charles, the race was a culmination of a lifelong dream in which he showed tremendous determination to win a place in the Cambridge boat.

He had to take a gap year to apply to Cambridge and, knowing he could not make the Blue Boat as an undergraduate straight from school, in his gap year he trained at Leander Rowing Club, living in Henley by himself.

Charles was rejected by the top rowing college at Cambridge, Gonville and Caius, but was fished out of the pool by St John’s.

The first race was in 1829 and the event has been held annually since 1856, except during the First and Second World Wars.

The course covers a 4.2 mile stretch of the Thames in West London, from Putney to Mortlake.