The Veterans Squash Rackets Club of Great Britain

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In 2014 the Veterans Squash Rackets Club of Great Britain was 50 years old - our Golden Anniversary. We celebrated with many events including a weekend festival of squash and a black tie dinner at the RAC. A 72 page very enjoyable, highly readable full colour book covering our history and much, much more was also produced.

Back in 1963 the Club was started with just 35 members, now it is has around 550.

It was actually on the 19th December 1963 that the Club was founded when eight enthusiastic veterans - including Messrs Dobbin, Phillips, Walrond, Hooper, Rowlands, Fisk together with Colonel Adye and Commander Pellow met under the temporary chairmanship of the then Secretary of the SRA (now England Squash & Racketball) John Horry at the RAF Club in Piccadilly.

However to all intents and purposes it was in 1964 when the first committee meeting reported 35 members, Club rules were drawn up, a Club tie designed and the first of many 'friendly' matches arranged.

1964 was the year of Mary Quant and Beatlemania, the Great Train Robbery trial and the deaths of Nehru, Ian Fleming and Harpo Marx. Nelson Mandela was jailed for life for treason.

In squash, in 1964/5 Jeremy Lyon reached the semi final of the Amateur Championship and a young man, Jonah Barrington, lost in the second round on his first appearance. Among modern day 'vets' in the amateur were Messrs McIntosh, Faulks, Hendry, Breckon, Stahl, Breakwell, Wise and Lyon, Gathercole and Skinner who were all regular members of the England team.

Veterans squash had only recently emerged. In the first Open Veterans Championship, Alan Seymour-Haydon beat Derek Corbett, whilst in the more established Amateur Vets Seymour-Haydon beat Aeneas Perkins - all founder members of the GB Vets. In the services, Robin Bawtree won the Royal Navy singles; Mike Perkins was runner-up in the Army singles (an event he won many times) and John Skinner won the Civil Service.

1964 was a year of change nationally and globally. It was also, in many ways, the take-off point for a revolution in squash with the rapid rise to prominence of Jonah Barrington and the transformation of the image and impact of the sport throughout the world with an explosion of the number of clubs and courts through the 1970's. In 1964, the game was still largely an amateur sport dominated by the public schools, Oxbridge and the services, with only a few dedicated, impoverished professionals.

In the last 50 years or so the sport has transformed itself and despite falling back from the boom of the 1980's is still played by millions across over 100 countries worldwide. During these years the GB Veterans Club has continued to expand from its early beginnings and today flourishes with some 550 members many of whom are active into their seventies and eighties!

The Club now boasts some 120 members, past and present, who have represented their countries - England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland.

Our Club Championships were introduced in 1981 - with Tony Gathercole (now a Vice-President) and Peter Gracie winning the Over 45 and over 55 Singles respectively. Gradually over the years, we have expanded the number of age categories to include Mens Over 70 Singles in 1993, Over 75 Singles in 2001, Over 80 singles in 2012 and Ladies Over 40 singles in 2000 and Over 50 singles in 2010. Mens doubles were introduced in 1984 and Ladies doubles in 2006.

The Club has sent teams across the world and hosted other Vets teams from throughout the world. It has become the watchword for the continuance of friendly, competitive squash into the 'mature' years.

50 years on, we certainly owe much to those few, those 'gallant few', who met at the Royal Air Force Club on that cold December night in 1963.

Tom Hendry 2003
Updated by Nigel Belle 2010 and 2014.