John Boyden Trophy Gala 2019 featuring the Jim Eatwell and Dave Risby Trophies

On 26th October 2019,  Mid Sussex Marlins hosted the inaugural John Boyden Trophy Gala, to celebrate the contribution of John, Jim Eatwell and Dave Risby to swimming, by giving development swimmers the valuable opportunity to gain competition experience in a fun environment.

The Gala was a wonderful success with Marlins hosting nearly 200 Sussex development swimmers from Shiverers, Hastings, Atlantis, Worthing, Lewes and Marlins. They brought with them over 200 spectators to cheer them on from the balcony so the atmosphere was electric.  Swimmers, volunteers, officials and parents all had a wonderful time as you can see on all the faces in the attached photos.

The competition was fast and furious with Marlins taking the top spot by just a handful of points.  The Jim Eatwell Trophy, presented by Jim’s daughter Dawn (also the lead referee for the Gala), was won by Amelie Lloyd and Harrison Poole won the Dave Risby Trophy which was presented by Stuart Marshall on behalf of Daryl Risby (Dave’s wife).  Marlins swimmers Dylan Grossman and Paloma Radley Smith proudly accepted the winner’s Trophy from John on behalf of the club.




The John Boyden Trophy was in fact made by John’s son Darren and his grandson Robin using materials from John’s Garage which we thought was just wonderful.





The final scores on the night were:

  • Mid Sussex Marlins:         231
  • Atlantis:                              227
  • Worthing:                           199
  • Lewes:                                193
  • Hastings:                            132
  • Shiverers:                           81


Following the Gala, John Boyden had the following to say:

“Please may I offer my thanks to all the helpers and everyone concerned with putting on this gala. Also to the Marlins club and those I have worked with over time because without them none of this would have happened. I have been very lucky to have worked with them. The gala was brilliant and with all the supporters in the gallery it made it an event I will always remember. This type of gala has always been a favourite of mine. Last but not least I would like to thank the club for the hospitality shown to my family. Especially that shown to Wendy , whose considerable support over the years made all this possible”

It was really special that Dawn Midmer, daughter of Jim Eatwell, was our principle Referee for the evening and after the Gala she had the following to say:

“It was great to see so many new swimmers racing and a balcony full of supporters enjoying the evening. All of the teams were incredibly loud and it was a fitting tribute to three inspirational men“

We first started planning this gala in early 2019 when Nic Piper, our Lead Development Coach, first mooted the idea to run a Development relay gala. Nic, together with Stuart Marshall were the Marlins coaches on Saturday night and, following the gala, Nic kindly sent me through some thoughts for our write up.

“Words from an old song, Oh what a night, can go some way to describe the evening at the Triangle on Saturday night. We had a team of 48 swimmers representing Marlins, from many sections of the Club. What was more important to me was that we had 15 swimmers who were putting on the Marlins hat for the first time representing our Club at a gala.  The age range started at 8 and where it finished, well let’s say to continue the words of the song, late September back in 63 may have more relevance than we know. Well perhaps not quite.

The gala gave us the chance to reflect on past help in respect of Jim Eatwell and Dave Risby. Also to recognise the continued support that John Boyden gives to the club.  I am very proud to have been part of this and I look forward to the next event.”