The Veterans Squash Rackets Club of Great Britain

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I am delighted to report that our Club remains in good heart. Our finances are in good health and we continue to make progress in both our membership and our outreach to all parts of the United Kingdom.

This year has also seen further strengthening of the traditional weekends with the Fitzwilliam Club (run by Steve Jackson) and whilst the traditional York weekend (run by Adrian Wright) took a year off in 2018, it will take place again on the weekend of 25-26 th October. Nick Sheppard, who is now our Hon. Match Secretary has also initiated a new Cambridge weekend, but circumstances conspired to delay it until the summer.

The Festival of Squash has now become a popular event held in early November (with great support from the RAC Woodcote Park and James Dubois). Last year our GB Vets Team had a great day and wrested the trophy off The Army for the first time in four years. A great day was had by players and supporters. Do put it in your diary for November 3rd, either to play or support your team!

Our Club Tournament remains one of our strengths. We have successfully extended the range of categories to include “Non-County players” Men’s O40 and Mixed Doubles with great success. Our Club is hugely in debt to Geoff Howes for his continued hard work to ensure its success over many years.

Slightly further afield, a number of our members played in the 2018 World Masters in Charlottesville USA at the end of July 2018. We were thrilled to celebrate the achievements of all our members. A special mention, however, goes to Lance Kinder who won the Over 80’s title. Congratulations also go to Karen Hume, Mandy Akin and Ian Ross who won silvers in their categories.

Moving back home, many of our members continue to excel in Regional and National Masters events. All these details are always recorded in Nigel’s splendid Club Newsletters.

At the recent 2019 British National Masters held in Nottingham, GB Vets recorded an amazing haul of 8 winners and 6 runners-up. The winners: Mandy Akin WO55, Karen Hume WO60, Bett Dryhurst WO70, Mark Woodliffe MO55, Stephen Johnson MO65, Howard Cherlin MO70, Adrian Wright MO75 and finally Vinnie Taylor MO80. Congratulations to them all!

A Chairman can only be as good as his supporting Committee. We are lucky that we have a strong and hard-working Committee who continue to dedicate their time to our Club. I thank them on behalf of all our members. Di Hendry has now been our Treasurer for three years and has mastered all the details of running the financial side of our Club. We were delighted that Nick Sheppard took on role of Match Secretary. He has already arranged new fixtures and revived some that had lapsed. It remains a difficult task however, since many active players have so many options.

I would especially like to extend my thanks to Nigel Belle. Nigel not only takes on the bulk of the work that keeps our Club going, including the Membership files, production of newsletters and the web-site content, but he also runs a significant number of matches. Oh, and he also plays in many of the Masters’ weekends and this year will captain the Over 75 English Team- alongside Darren Withey and Keeley Johnson who will captain their respective teams.

I have forgotten how many times over the last few years I urged our younger members to come forward and serve our club, but this is still not happening to the extent that we need. Your Committee continues to work hard to find new blood and energy to help run the GB Vets. So please volunteer if you are able to help in any way, perhaps by arranging matches, tours or, indeed, in any way you are willing to contribute to the further development of our Club.

To highlight this challenge, I have given notice that, in order to speed up this process, I have announced that I will give up the Chairman’s role of the GB Vets Club after the 2020 AGM when Di will also resign as Treasurer.

We need to move forward and ensure that our club will continue to flourish. In the meantime, thanks for all your continued support.

Tom Hendry