|Years||1952 (8o, 1st)
1954 (4+, 3rd)
|Club||Stuart Ladies RC|
|Racing weight||11 stone or 70kg|
|Died||2017 aged 91|
Bette is fourth from the left in the photo at the top of this page which shows the successful 1952 crew with their coach.
Elizabeth Shubrook, known to all of her friends as Bette, was a member of Stuart Ladies RC on the River Lea during the early 1950s when it was generally the most successful club on the British women’s rowing scene.
She first represented Great Britain in the eights at the 1952 Women’s International Regatta run by FISA to test the practicality of the concept, where the Stuart Ladies crew won a three-boat event against the Netherlands and France.
She then went on to win a bronze medal in the coxed fours at the first Women’s European Rowing Championships in 1954, again in a Stuart Ladies crew.
Full accounts of these events can be read here:
1952 | 1954
More photos of Bette
Bette moved away from rowing after her success at the 1954 Women’s European Rowing Championships, largely because she married the racing driver Graham Hill the following year, having met him at a fun regatta on Boxing Day 1950 at Auriol RC (which merged with Kensington RC in 1981 to form Auriol Kensington RC).
Although best-known for his success in motor sport, Graham Hill’s first sporting love was rowing, which he learned at Southsea RC, and continued at Auriol RC and then later at London RC whose distinctive blue and white cap design famously adorned both his and their son Damon’s racing helmets.
Bette soon became a well-known and respected figure on the F1 circuit, doing skilled timekeeping work for her husband’s team, as well as forming The Doghouse Club for drivers’ wives.
Her life was turned upside down in 1975 when Graham died after the plane he was piloting crashed in bad weather conditions, killing not only him but his five passengers who were members of his racing team. As the plane’s paperwork was not in order, its insurance was invalid, which led to the other men’s families making direct claims on Hill’s estate.
In 1978 she published The Other Side of the Hill: Life with Graham Hill, an autobiography of her life with him.
More of Bette’s story can be read in her obituary in The Independent and also here.