Former Olympic rowing champion Martin Cross has paid tribute to fellow Molesey Boat Club member and former GB men's eight cox Acer Nethercott, who died yesterday.

Nethercott,  who won men's eight silver at the Beijing Games in 2008 and coxed Oxford University to Boat Race victories in 2003 and 2005, had been suffering from cancer.

The 35-year-old was a regular at Barge Walk on Saturday and Sunday mornings where he often took to the water with fellow Olympic gold medallists Jonny Searle, Tom James and - occasionally - Sir Steve Redgrave.

Nethercott, who had been in the running to cox the men's eight at the London Games until the job was handed to Phelan Hill, was involved as a cox and coach in the club's sporting giants programme designed to uncover the next gerneration of rowing stars.

"He was one of Britain’s best ever coxes," said 1984 Olympic men's coxed four gold medallist and Hampton School teacher Cross in a statement on the Molesey Boat Club website.

"To his crews, he brought a combative desire to win, together with an incredibly sharp mind.

"Both were real confidence boosters whether your boat was in the middle of a really tight head to head race, or half-way through a 20km training session and needed some inspiration.

"He will rightly be remembered for his role in two memorable Oxford victories in 2003 & 2005, together with the Olympic silver he won coxing the British eight in Beijing.

"But unsurprisingly for such a high-achiever, there was far more to him.

"Beneath his sometimes quiet, cerebral and focussed exterior, lay a man with big heart; responsible for giving a helping hand to so many in British rowing.

"It was typical of the man that he refused to discuss his illness. And when he went for coxing trials in 2012 for the British Olympic eight, many of the crew did not know that he was suffering from cancer.

"At 35, his death has taken him from us too soon. Our thoughts are with his clubmates, friends, and family."