The twinnage between GUBC and Canottieri Sebino, a club about 100km north-east from Milan, is a fairly young pairing, that started when Aristide Bonomelli came to Glasgow as an Erasmus student in September 2005. Having rowed at Sebino for many years he didn’t hesitate to join GUBC upon his arrival in Scotland, and it was his enthusiasm for the club that led to Sebino’s President to approach Ari and propose that they take an 8 to Tideway and borrow an eight from GUBC, with the understanding the favour would be returned if GUBC every came to Italy.
GUBC’s president at the time was enthusiastic, and December 2006 saw the first GUBC training camp take place in Italy, with five of the senior men going over to row at Sebino.
Thirteen of the men’s squad headed to Italy in 2007 as part of their training schedule for Henley Royal Regatta. There GUBC, donated an oar, presented by Pete Russell, with both club colours to mark the Twinnage. Seventeen people from Sebino attended a training camp in Glasgow in August, and were even received by the University Vice-Principal. Sebino donated a plate with a view of Lovere, which is now believed to sit in the Vice-Principal’s office, as the boathouse was deemed unsafe for it!
The rest is history.
The men’s squad came again in 2008, preparing for the European Universities Champ, and Sebino has come to Glasgow nearly every year. Finally, in 2011 the Ladies went to Lovere, eventually realising that the weather and lake in Italy is much preferred to the grim and grey weather of Inverness.
At first glance, it looks like a simple request to have one boat borrowed just went spectacularly out of hand. Indeed those who were involved at the start certainly didn’t foresee what was going to happen.
Today we have a strong relationship between the two clubs. We both found each other to be enjoyable people, and a credit both to GUBC and Sebino. All those who were involved in the various trips to Italy and back, talk about how great an experience it is, nice weather, and new friends. The same is said by the Italians returning from Glasgow. Well, maybe minus the weather bit.
The Sebino-GUBC Twinnage is now something well rooted in both clubs, able to work and continue regardless of the persons involved. Unaware as they may have been, the two who came to Lovere on holiday and walked into Sebino proved it, even if in a surprising way.
Not many clubs in Europe can boast such a relationship with a foreign club. A special relationship to borrow a term dear to British politics. Not many can go abroad, stay and use rowing boats for free. Of course, the Twinnage is not just about free travel like a cheap holiday. It is about rowing and having the chance to meet people from another cultural background.
The Twinnage is a great chance to grow as athletes as well as adults.
May our twinnage be a long lasting legacy, binding the clubs for many years to come!