I don’t really know where to start with today’s guest—as he has done and achieved so much in his life. Malcolm Knight served in the Metropolitan Police Force for nearly 30 years, and among his varied roles he served as a uniformed Sergeant, in the Diplomatic Protection Service, and Territorial Support Group to instructor National Public Order Training Centre.
He’s been script advisor to the long running TV series The Bill and instructor in Personal Safety to various Airlines. But his true passion is when he is on the water and The Thames is his second home. Not only has Malcolm achieved five world record for middle distance rowing (three on the Thames) he also went on to organize events for others to enjoy.
Malcolm is Director of Thames Alive, the catalyst and umbrella organization harnessing and promoting The River Thames. This unique organization that draws together the hundreds of public and private bodies that use the river have put on several historic events, including the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant and the Olympic Torch Relay 2012.
Later this year they are organizing a stunning programme called ‘To Be A Pilgrim’ as part of the Mayflower 400 celebrations. Not to be missed. Until recently he was also the Events Manager for The Queens Royal Row Barge ‘Gloriana’ for seven years. And that just scratches the surface, as he also recently appeared on the Channel5 series The Thames, Britain’s Great River with Tony Robinson.
Sit back as Malcolm and I chat over the past present and future of the glorious Thames overlooking the glorious Hampton Court.
“London’s where it is because back in the day it was the first point in which people could actually get across the river.”
Malcolm’s love for the Thames was really manifested more or less after his career with the Metropolitan Police Force. He had signed up for one canoe race—which he missed out on, but on a leisurely canoe in 1985 he learned what a “skiffer” was, went to a derelict cottage and boathouse and fell in love with the Victorian style watercraft. He learned how to scull and the rest is history. It’s as simple as that.
“In ’99 we put a squad together of 15 of us rotating 3 hours on – 3 hours off—and rowed to Paris in just over 4 days.”
Malcom went off to set a slew of world records. This started off on what’s called a “Meander” just a simple 3 day row down the Thames, of course—and he realized if they kept their pace they would beat the world record, which they set out and did by 24hrs. He also set one on a 4 day row to Paris, and he still holds the world record for single scull down the Thames—a feat accomplished at the ripe age of 53.
Malcolm has put his own personal oars aside on the world record front, but coaches others and is a huge organizer for events on the Thames. This includes being the Ambassador for The Queen’s Row Barge with The Gloriana Trust where he organized and planned all boat movements and rowing crews. He’s organized more as the Director of Thames Alive, coordinating events to celebrate King Henry VIII, the Magna Carta’s 800th birthday, carrying the Olympic flame, and coming this year—the Mayflower 400 event which will take a congratulatory velum scroll down the Thames in a long journey to America.
You can follow along with all the Thames events at ThamesAlive.org.uk and take part in watching London take to the river that has fueled our city for centuries, and for generations to come.