The red carpet was laid down at the entrance to the Royal Duchy Hotel, Falmouth, for members to walk upon as they entered the hotel to celebrate the Ruby Anniversary of their club.

Forty years ago, Phyllis Buckley founded the club and so on Thursday, March 8 it was the club's Ruby Anniversary. Chairman, Monica Smith, took great delight in asking Olive Stevens, a founder member, to cut the cake and to say a few words about the club. Mrs Stevens said that Mrs Buckley would never have envisaged that the club would still be going 40 years later. Her idea at the time was for ladies to meet for enjoyment, friendship and for making new friends and to smile and say a word of greeting. The club was mentioned at tea time in both the Falmouth Packet and the West Britain and membership increased yearly, as indeed it is doing now.

The ladies had been asked to wear something red to celebrate and past presidents were each presented with a red rose corsage on arriving.

The chairman then introduced the speaker, Penny Chuter, OBE whose talk was entitled "My Life in Rowing - the Competitive Years". She said that she was a woman in a world of men when she started, for it was unheard of for women to row and so she really was in a man's world. However, she persevered and became the International Ladies' Single Champion in 1957 to 1967, with further championships for the Ladies Doubles and the Mixed Doubles. She was introduced to the sliding seat form of rowing but in 1964, retired to get a career in coaching.

Penny had received many medals but also taught for seven years and became the national racing coach, coached in education and became the director of coaching and moved from coaching women to coaching men, which again was almost unheard of, helping them to win silver and gold medals. It was not until 1974 that she was able to get all the best rowers into one boat. No other women has coached a men's Eight and she is still the chief coach. In 1989 Penny received the OBE for services to British sport. Lottery money helped to get her teams more and more medals between 1984 and 1986.

Her parents bought a bungalow on the River Thames after the war and Penny had to row across the river to get to school. Her father was a sailor and her mother was a British national swimmer and very competitive. Penny raced in the sculling championships on the Thames and her mother would swim in the river covered in Vaseline, a secret of winning a race. "Children do not seem to play on the river any more, messing about in boats" Penny said and hoped that more youngsters would join the Flushing and Mylor Gig Clubs. Penny had a flat bottomed punt with a place for a picnic basket in the middle and at five years old, after learning how to swim, she would row across the river to get to her primary school.

In 1963 she became an international rower and that was the year the River Thames froze over. The ice was three feet deep outside their bungalow and her parents had parties on the frozen river.

Penny showed a slide of the cups she had won from her first very small one when she was 15 to huge great cups. She was a national champion sculler and skiff rower. She accepted an offer to row behind the Iron Curtain and went on her own at 19 years of age, leaving a worried mother behind. She won her race as a single sculler.

In 1975 she pushed for women to race 2,000 metres and not just 1,000 metres. She coached crews for every world rowing championship and Olympic Games between 1974 and 1983.

The vote of thanks was given by Stella Harvey.

Next month's talk on April 12 is by Mary Gander, "Inspirational Chalky Paint Finishes" .