Henley Royal Regatta elects three new Stewards

Henley Royal Regatta is delighted to announce the election of three new Stewards at the AGM on Tuesday, December 14. 

The three new Stewards - Aquil Abdullah, Jess Eddie and Adam Freeman-Pask - join an illustrious body made up chiefly of successful rowers and scullers. The Stewards have been responsible for helping run the annual Regatta since 1885 and have become a model for other events, including the Olympic Games.

“On behalf of the Stewards of Henley Royal Regatta, I am pleased to welcome Aquil, Jess and Adam,” Sir Steve Redgrave, Chairman of the Committee of Management, said. “The Stewards are the heartbeat of the Regatta. It is their responsibility to make sure that Henley remains true to its founding principles whilst always continuing to lead the way. 

“There are always new challenges for each generation – something the past two years has emphasised if there was any doubt - and we have gone from strength to strength by renewing ourselves. Our new Stewards embody all the virtues of the Regatta, they have given much already and we look forward to much more.”

Aquil Abdullah

Aquil Abdullah, 48, won the USA rowing national championships in 1996 in the single sculls competition and co-authored a book with Chris Ingraham titled Perfect Balance in 2001, after his failure to qualify for the 2000 Summer Olympics by 0.33 of a second.

He won The Diamond Challenge Sculls at the Regatta in 2000 as a heavy crowd favourite, with many spectators remembering him for breaking his foot stretcher while racing at Henley the previous year. He went on to represent the USA at the 2001 and 2002 World Rowing Championships and came 6th in the men’s double sculls at the Athens 2004 Olympics.

He remains heavily involved in rowing and is an active member of the National Rowing Foundation board and is also helping to lead the Pocock Rowing Foundation’s ‘A Most Beautiful Thing Inclusion Fund’, as its chairman, to promote inclusion in rowing. 

He is an instructor on the rapidly growing Hydrow platform, and as a software developer by trade is also writing code for the company. 

Jess Eddie

Jess Eddie, 37, has been a familiar face - and now voice - at Henley Royal Regatta for almost two decades on the water. Since retiring from international rowing after winning silver in the women’s eight at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, she has become a key part of the HRR television commentary and social media team. 

Eddie won The Remenham Challenge Cup (women’s eight) on her first appearance in 2004, the first of eight appearances and four victories in the eights. 

In 2021, she doubled up in spectacular fashion, making it to the quarter finals of The Stonor Challenge Trophy (women’s double sculls), with fellow Olympian Katie Greves.

She has been a curator at the Victoria and Albert Museum since 2019. 

Adam Freeman-Pask

Adam Freeman-Pask, 36, was part of the British lightweight rowing team from 2008 to 2015. He won the Scullers Head, British Senior Trials and all three World Cups in different disciplines before obtaining selection for Team GB at the London 2012 Games as the lightweight reserve athlete. He won silver in the 2012 European Championships and bronze in the 2013 World Championships in the lightweight coxless four. 

Since retiring Freeman-Pask has volunteered to help rowing programmes at home and abroad, including the Future Hope charity in Kolkata, helping orphans gain access to the sport. He has been a big supporter of the Regatta and also volunteers as part of the commentary team.

He has a good grasp of the wider sporting landscape through his day job as Head of Partner Support at Sport England.


The 2022 Regatta will be held from Tuesday, 28 June to Sunday, 3 July

Since 1885 Henley Royal Regatta has been organised by a self-electing body of Stewards, most of whom are well-known and successful rowers and scullers. A Committee of Management, consisting of 12 of the Stewards, is elected annually and is responsible for all planning and detailed organisation. The Stewards’ primary consideration is the best interests of those who are competing in the races and the Members of the Stewards' Enclosure in equal measure.
Source: Henley Royal Regatta organisation 

“Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympic Games, modelled elements of the organisation of the International Olympic Committee on the Henley Stewards…He greatly admired their independence, studied their modus operandi, and ultimately borrowed their principles of self-recruitment to ensure the enduring free agency of the members of the International Olympic Committee.”
Source: https://olympics.com/ioc/pierre-de-coubertin/the-independence-of-the-ioc 

Henley Royal Regatta, founded in 1839, is the best-known rowing regatta in the world, renowned for its match-racing.  It is one of the highlights of the summer sporting and social calendar in the UK, as well as the rowing calendar internationally. More than 300 races are staged at the Regatta, featuring Olympians and emerging stars from around the world.