John was an intensely private individual and despite many people having many years of association with him, it is poignant that we know very little about his background. He went to Cambridge to study medicine and whilst there was a keen rower. He went on to be a GP. He later became a tennis player, only taking up the sport well into his adulthood, and became passionate about all aspects of the game; the top players and tournaments; identifying new exciting young players; how it should be played; how a tennis club and tennis leagues should be run.
His other great passion was skiing and for a number of years he rented a small flat in Zermatt, Switzerland so that he could spend a whole season out there. He even took the opportunity to visit Roger Federer’s old tennis club to see how it was run. Amazingly he bumped into an ex Bracknell Tennis Club member whilst there.
He loved to visit Wimbledon and the French Open every year. He also initiated an annual trip to the Monte Carlo Open every April, a tradition that is still going strong with some club members.
John wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea. He couldn’t do small talk and if he didn’t agree with you on something, you’d probably know it. But if you spoke with him about his theories on tennis, skiing or medicine, you could talk for hours.
One of John’s great achievements was what he did for Bracknell tennis club. He was a driving force behind setting up the structured playing arrangements of weekly match practice coupled with the more traditional club sessions. Not to mention his expertise at barbecues following our Finals Days and laying on a delicious spread for the men’s teams at Christmastime. John spent many years on the committee, as Captain in 1989, Vice-Captain from 1990-1992 and as Chairman from 1993 until October 2002. During his chairmanship, he was the driving force in replacing the club house from a rather sad Portakabin arrangement to the superb building we have today. This not only gave the whole club a lift for current and prospective members but has become the heart of the social side of the club too. His single mindedness got the job done, but probably lost him a few potential friends along the way too.
Despite not taking up tennis when he was younger, John played to a high level, representing Bracknell Men’s 1st team in the late 1990s, helping the team win Division 2 of the Berkshire summer league. He also made appearances in the Club Championships finals of the Men’s Doubles and won the Mixed Doubles title in 2003. He was excellent at analysing both the singles and doubles game and was ready with a plan of action to win, even though realizing it was not always possible.
John had lymphoma this year and that made him rather ill. He had a course of chemo through the summer and he came through that with flying colours. His doctors were very pleased with his blood test results and declared him better, before he succumbed to a heart condition.
Those who have known John for many years agree that we are fortunate to have had him as a friend. We will miss you, John.