Former Lord Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire and 1952 Olympian James Crowden, having passed away earlier this year, was finally laid to rest at a memorial service in Ely Cathedral this Monday in a service attended by dozens of dignitaries, family members and well-wishers. Lead by the Dean of the Cathedral, Mark Bonney, the proceedings included a sermon delivered by the Right Reverend John Flack, and a reading of the poem The Oarsman’s Song by Crowden’s great-nephew, Mr William Montgomery.
Most notable among the attendants were representatives sent on behalf the Royal Family. Representing The Queen was Sir Hugh Duberly, Sir Michael Marshall for the Duke of Edinburgh, Victoria Legge-Bourke for the Princess Royal, Major Nicholas Barne for the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, and George Windsor the Earl of St Andrews for the Duke of Kent. Their attendance was in acknowledgement of Mr Crowden’s long years of service to the Crown as Lord Lieutenant, as well as his many other contributions to British society. In addition to the Royal representatives, the congregation at the memorial service included representatives of Cambridge University, the Cadets, the Henley Royal Regatta, Company of Watermen and Lightmen of the River Thames, the Royal British Legion, and numerous regimental communities.
Mr Crowden served as Lord-Lieutenant for Cambridgeshire for a decade, assuming the role from the 3rd of July 1992 until 2002. Before that, Mr Crowden was an enthusiastic and accomplished rower. As well participating in numerous races, he had the honour of representing the United Kingdom at the 1952 Summer Olympics, participating in the rowing race. For the next twenty years, he then served as the crew coach for the Cambridge team. He personally received the Elizabeth Cup from the then Princess Elizabeth (now Queen Elizabeth II) at the Henley Royal Regatta in 1946. Mr Crowden had also served as High Sheriff of Cambridgeshire and the Isle of Ely from 1970 to 1971.
Friends and colleagues recognised him as “a larger than life character who was always humble” and who “was always happy when called upon to tell us one of his repertoire of fine tales”.