Alan Francis attended the Jeppe High School Preparatory Department as it was then called and left school to go to work before being able to attend high school at Jeppe.
He acquired a keen interest in rowing and from time to time was involved with mustering schoolboy crews to compete against each other on an ad hoc basis.
When school boy rowing was started in the then Transvaal in the 1958/59 rowing season by the late Dr JRD Tomlinson also a Jeppe old boy, Alan Francis or Alicat as is affectionately known immediately identified himself with the Jeppe Rowing Club, his natural home, and so he has been associated with our club since its inception.
In recognition of this incredible contribution, Ali was awarded honorary full colours, the only person ever to have been granted this honour at Jeppe, at the 40th anniversary celebrations of the rowing club in 1998. He was also made life president of the Jeppe Rowing Club.
Ali is truly the doyen of Rowing in South Africa. When planning commenced for the South African Games in 1973 he was so heavily involved in the development of the Roodeplaat Course as an international quality rowing facility that it was named after him.
Here at Jeppe it was he who was credited with being one of those responsible in 1961 for the building of this facility so that new rowers could train without having to waste time going out to Wemmer Pan or later to VLC where the Jeppe Boat House is now located.
Although he is well into his seventies, Ali is still an active oarsman and has represented South Africa in various veteran categories.
Ali has attended countless Jeppe rowing camps and training sessions during his own holiday time. Virtually every Jeppe rower has had the privilege of being influenced for the better by this great man.
As you can see it is rare privilege for us to be able to name our Rowing Tanks the ALAN FRANCIS ROWING TANKS.
Presented by Lloyd Thompson
Chairman of the Rowing Patrons' Association 2003