Tom Askwith was one of the greatest rowers that Peterhouse has ever seen. His skill on the water, dedication to Peterhouse Boat Club, commitment as a coach and friendly manner will long live in the memories of that that came into contact with him.
Tom joined Peterhouse Boat Club in the Michaelmas term of 1929, was Treasurer in 1930-31, and Captain the following year and part of the next. He was Secretary of the Cambridge University Boat Club in 1933.
Tom was a prolific oarsman, and in the Michaelmas term of 1931 became the first PBC oarsman since Lord Kelvin to win the Colquhoun sculls. In the Lent term of 1932 he rowed at 3 in the winning Blue boat in the University Boat Race. This crew won the Grand Challenge Cup at Henley Royal Regatta rowing as Leander Club, and was subsequently chosen to represent Great Britain at the 1932 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.
In 1933, Tom again represented the winning Cambridge crew in the Boat Race, later that year winning the Diamond Challenge Sculls at Henley Royal Regatta by two lengths from H L Warren of Trinity Hall, choosing to race under Peterhouse colours over those of Leander Club. After this victory, The Observer remarked that Tom would surely be a ‘Pothouse Immortal’.
Tom was again selected to represent Great Britain at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, finishing fourth in the VIII again. Tom later entered British Colonial Service, and eventually became a Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of African Affairs.
Tom’s involvement with the Peterhouse Boat Club continued as both a coach and a keen supporter, until his death in 2001.