January 25 - Bert Bushnell, a rower who won an Olympic gold medal in the double sculls at London in 1948, has died at the age of 88 following a short illness.

He won his Olympic title on the River Thames at Henley in partnership with Richard Burnell, an Old Etonian who had rowed for Oxford University, which was in contrast to Bushnell, whose father ran a boatyard in Reading.

Bushnell celebrated his victory by asking Grace Kelly, the 16-year-old sister of American oarsman Jack Kelly, for a date and they walked along the towpath at Henley.

"She told me she wanted to be a dancer but her mother wouldn't permit it," he later recalled in an interview in 2004.

"About 18 months later I got a postcard from Grace saying she had walked out and enrolled in a dance school.

"From there she soon went on to Hollywood."

His triumph came after a distinguished career during World War Two, working on motor torpedo boats and participated in the evacuation of Dunkirk.

Bushnell had warmed-up for the London Olympics by touring Argentina during which he was presented to President Juan Perón and his wife Eva.

After the Olympics he set up his own boatyard in Maidenhead and ran a fleet of 50 hire cruisers, pioneering the development of recirculative "pump-out" lavatories which freed the holidaymaker from the miseries of elsan emptying and earned him the affectionate nickname "Recirc Bert".

He sold his business in 1979 and emigrated to the Algarve, returning home in 1988 after his wife Margaret died.

Bushnell died at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading on Saturday, January 9.

He is survived by his three daughters and six granddaughters.

His funeral will take place at St Mary’s Church in Henley on Wednesday (January 27).