George Musker spent the whole of a working career lasting more than 50 years on the waterways. As a boy he helped navigate his father's narrowboats on the river. Leaving school he worked on the barges and steamers, first of the Salt Union Ltd. Then for Brunner Mond and Co., working his way up to Captain, and for many years skippering the Salt Union's "National".
His working life was interrupted by First World War service during which he was taken prisoner. Afterwards he maintained his link with the river. He put his vast experience as a pilot and waterman to effect by piloting the new boats built at the Weaver shipyards of Yarwood's and Plimblott's downstream to Liverpool Bay for their trials.
Long before Mr Musker ceased full time work he also established a new and different association with the Weaver which was to last for some 47 years. Taken down to Northwich Rowing Club by his late father-in-law Mr Henry Dalton, he first helped him to keep boats and the boathouse in good order and then succeeded him as the club's boatman when he died in 1930, which means the job had been in the family since before the turn of the century. His expertise, efficiency and loyalty were so treasured by the club that they named a new Four boat after him and also rewarded his devotion and hard work with several trophies, including one inscribed "George Masker Elite Boatman". He was connected with the water for so long he once said: "It's a miracle I haven't got webbed feet".
George, whose home at 20 John Brunner Crescent, Castle was just a stone's throw from the Weaver boathouses he knew so well, died aged 87 in 1980.
George married Annie in 1915 and the couple celebrated their diamond wedding in 1975. They had a daughter, Mrs Annie Higgins and two sons, George and Cyril.
"Northwich Rowing Club will never know his equal".
An interview with George from the ICI archive
Northwich Rowing Club holds it's annual Awards ceremony in the Autumn. The George Musker Award is still the most important award given to a club member for their skill, dedication and achievements in rowing over the year. It is the greatest honour the club can bestow on a member.
Northwich Chronicle 12th Feb 1981.
Northwich Rowing Club are to keep the name of the late George Musker, boatman for about 40 years, very much alive. They are to present a decorated oar annually to the Club's most successful oarsman of the season. The first presentation of this award will take place on Sunday March 1st.
Northwich Chronicle 2nd March 1981
First winner of NRC's George Musker Memorial Trophy- a decorated blade - is England junior sculler Geoff Sims. George Musker's daughter Mrs Annie Higgins presented the trophy to him. At a special boathouse reception on Sunday, President Bill Shufflebottom said "the club needed something rather special to mark the services to NRC from 1942 to 1979 of a man whose equal may never be known". They had decided to make an annual award to a club member for their achievements on the water. Geoff won the National Sculling Junior Championships and went on to row for England in the Home Counties International. Said a modest Geoff, aged 19, "I joined the club when I was 13 and I've loved every minute of it."
Northwich World March 23rd 1984
Jo Rafferty was recently awarded the coveted annual George Musker Award in recognition for her achievements last season. She is the first woman recipient.
Over the years the award has been won by a variety of club members, including Matthew Jump, the Laughton brothers, Will and George and perhaps Northwich Rowing Club's most famous son, Matthew Langridge.