Date Born/Est
30 Oct 1855
Date Died/Ceased
09 Jan 1945
Biographical Display
Willy Grenfell (Lord Desborough), Oxford blue, punting champion, chairman of the Thames Conservancy, MP and committee man
Willy Grenfell represented Harrow at cricket and Oxford in fencing, athletics, and rowing, rowing in the dead-heat boat race of 1877 and the winning boat of 1878. He won the Thames punting championship in three successive years (1888-90), stroked an eight across the Channe in 1885, sculled London to Oxford in 22 hours, and rowed in the Grand for Leander while an MP.

Grenfell was a liberal MP for Salisbury and Hereford City. He was a prolific big game hunter and an all-round sportsman, at various times occupying the president's chair of the Lawn Tennis Association, the Amateur Athletic Association, the Bath Club and the Middlesex Cricket Club. He chaired the committee which organised the Olympic Games in London in 1908 (check), effectively setting up the British Olympic Association.

He held numerous public offices - it was said that at one time he sat on 115 committees simultaneously - including the chairmanship of the Thames Conservancy BOard for 32 years from c1904.
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