Former Lea R.C. president Tony Mallin was awarded an MBE for services to young people through sport in the 2020 New Year’s Honours list.
For more than 20 years, Tony has chaired Youth Experience in Sport (YES), a charity that aims to bring at risk young people into active sport in deprived areas of London. The charity has donated more than £350k to sports across London since its inception. This money was either donated by Tony, or raised through his own efforts, and YES is thought to have benefited thousands of children since the charity began. YES, being Lea R.C.’s biggest donor, has been instrumental in helping create the basis for our growing opportunities and astonishing successes for junior rowers. Tony also provided significant financial support for our new Boathouse, which was opened in 2016.
Tony took up rowing at Eton Mission Rowing Club, and moved to Crowland Rowing Club, then subsequently to Thames Tradesmen's RC, making the British team. He rowed at Henley Royal Regatta and won the Wyfold Challenge Cup in 1975 and the Grand Challenge Cup the following year, both with the Thames Tradesmen’s Rowing Club.
Interviewed in the Henley Standard, Tony said: "I’m extremely proud and it was totally unexpected.
“My life has completely changed from the heritage of my parents who were very much from a working class background. I wasn’t quite on subsidised school meals but I wasn’t far off it.
“If it wasn’t for sport I would have been on a completely different path with the guys I used to hang around with and things I used to get up to.”
He added: “I’m reasonably proud of where I’ve got to. Now what I really want to do is make a difference to others.
“I think there’s an obligation on people who have done well and have benefited with the environment and business system in the UK.
“I think it’s expected of them to channel their energy and skills into repaying society.”
Sylvia Chew, Lea Rowing Cub member said: “All of my children benefitted from Tony’s generosity as juniors, not least the opportunity to use the YES single at a time when I was struggling to rub together enough for the race fees. It enabled them to complete in a sport which gave them a sense of discipline, of belonging and of success, and which has underpinned their adult careers.”
You can read more about Tony Mallin and Youth Experience Sport in the Henley Standard