“That man is a success who has lived well, laughed often and loved much; who has gained the respect of intelligent men and the love of little children; who has filled his niche and accomplished his task; who leaves the world better than he found it…………..”
I am indebted to Peter Thomas, David Vaughan’s godson, for his Reading of that quotation (attributed to R L Stevenson) to a huge throng of Jesters and friends who attended David’s Thanksgiving Service held on 23rd November 2015 at All Saints Church, Fulham, and afterwards at the Hurlingham Club in numbers which almost overwhelmed Jane Vaughan’s generous Wake. David would so loved to have been there!
What more can one say about such a lovely man as David? Everything is in Peter’s Reading. David lived very well; in his last days he even had us searching (successfully) for his recently appointed favourite beer, Doom Bar. Two days before he died he told me about the new red car he had bought (really!) and was shortly going to collect. David really loved driving – and fast too! He loved much; particularly he loved his devoted wife Jane who was such a great support and friend to him. David laughed at many things. One of my earliest memories of David is when I was playing Squash at South Kensington in the 1960s and heard his chuckle from the gallery as I played some dreadful shot. That chuckle was wholly without malice and I heard it many times as I played Squash or Tennis with him.
Intelligent men? There were many, who loved and respected David. Sir Lawrence Verney, one of his earliest friends and one of the most intelligent men of his generation, certainly did, as did David’s many other friends of great achievement and intelligence. They were all lifelong friends of whom David had many, a handful still remaining from his Oxford days. David had a great gift of retaining friends throughout his life, and falling out with no one. I remember Robert Dolman, speaking at an Annual Dinner, turning and saying to David in a mixture of amazement, envy and disbelief “You don’t have an enemy in the World!”
As for the love of little children, one need look no further than next door to Jane and David’s house at 8 Ranelagh Avenue. For at No. 10 lived the Winter family, Richard and Sophie, with little children Ella (11), Georgia (9) and Oliver (7). Those little children absolutely loved David and brightened his life immeasurably as he slipped deep into his 80s. Ella encapsulated the friendship she, and her brother and sister, had with him in her poem which started “I am so very lucky to have a friend like him, I met him when I was three years old, And will always remember his charming friendly grin. His door is always open, to welcome me in………. ”
David’s niche in life was huge and he certainly filled it and accomplished his task. His contribution to our Games of Squash and Tennis has been enormous. He played both Games at the highest level, both internationally, and at Club level. Within the Jesters Club, David’s contribution to our affairs extended over some 60 years, as a Committee member in 1956, as Assistant Hon. Secretary (Overseas) in 1958, as vice-Chairman in 1972, as Chairman from 1979, and as President from 1980 until his death in 2015. What a contribution! David Vaughan certainly left the world “better than he found it” and he was indeed “a success“.
Robert Dolman delivered the most wonderful Tribute to David at the Thanksgiving Service. It covered David’s life from his birth in 1928, through his hilarious RAF and Oxford career, and on to his business life spent running a successful painting company – in between playing Squash and Tennis at the highest level. I would love to quote that Tribute to you in full but the demands of those UK and Overseas Jesters Game Representatives who are lined up behind me to tell you in this Report about the achievements of the players of their various Games, prevent me from doing so. However Robert’s Tribute is now, or will be soon, on the Jesters website and I recommend that all of you read it.
In the few lines left to me I would like to mention that we again had a most successful Golf Day at Huntercombe in June with the Smithie Cup being won deservedly by Jane Henman. Next year’s Golf Day is at Huntercombe on June 6th 2017, please put that date in your diaries now. Another date for your diaries is the Canadian tour of the UK in 2017 concluding with a traditional Cambridge Week-end on September 8th/9th. We have booked rooms at Selwyn College and those of you who enjoy games various, good food and punting on the Cam, should make sure that you come along and join the tourists in Cambridge.
Space will be at a premium so if you wish to join in send an email off to Nick Brown in Cambridge early.
I now give you the excellent Games Reports on the 2014/2015 season from the UK Game Representatives, and some most interesting Reports from the Overseas Chairmen.
Paul Robbins reports for UK Squash. In what feels like a summer of great change, with our nation voting to leave the EU, the resignation of our Prime Minister, a dysfunctional opposition and a wholly inept football team, it is somewhat comforting to sit down and reflect on the Jesters’ season past, and look forward to the upcoming season.
As Aqib Kadar kindly mentioned in last year’s report, this has been my first season as the UK Jesters Squash Representative, a role I am led to believe (or as I was told) is coveted by many, but held by very few. Aqib had informed me that the job entailed attending the regular Jesters’ Committee meetings, organising the annual Strawson fixture and attending the odd Dinner in addition to writing the annual Squash report. He also informed me that the role involved very little admin, something that he clearly misled me on! 2016 also saw the arrival of Richard Winter on the Jesters’ Committee, for those of you that do not know Richard, he is a stalwart member of the RAC Bath Cup side and a regular at Jesters’ matches. We are lucky to have Richard on board.
We have had another excellent season of Squash fixtures, with approximately 80 matches being played and this number continues to increase. These matches have been played far and wide at locations including schools, universities, army barracks, country houses and sometimes even Squash clubs. A special mention must go to Tony Billington who organised the Jesters vs Lindens fixture in May of this year. The match took place on Tony’s private squash court at Lindens, his delightful country house in Berkshire.
For the first time, 2016 will see two Jesters fixtures played against Oxford and Cambridge University Ladies teams and we hope that these fixtures will be well supported and successful, and become a regular fixture for many seasons to come. Please do let Henry Prideaux know if you would like to help organise a new fixture as it would be great to keep on expanding the fixture list.
I would like to extend my thanks for the continued work of Keith White and the South West Jesters for getting many matches played and indeed sending the results through. Henry Prideaux does a fantastic job in organising and recording all the fixtures each year, so please do make sure that each match manager continues to send through the results of completed matches. Please do continue to volunteer for matches that you wish to play in, this makes the life of a match manager much easier. We are also on the lookout for new match managers so if this is of interest to you please do get in touch.
September 2016 will also see a team of Jesters tour South Africa under the captaincy of Charles Fuente. The tourists are travelling to Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Durban, Pietermaritzburg and Johannesburg and I know what a privilege it is to be selected to tour and there is genuine excitement among the squad for what I am sure will be an exceptional experience.
I hope everyone has a fantastic season and I look forward to seeing many of you soon.
Alex Illingworth (and Ronald Pattison) report for Eton Fives. Well, Ronald & I enjoyed our season and I hope that we are reasonable barometers of the general sentiment in Eton Fives. We have been fortunate this ‘term’ to enjoy well subscribed games against congenial opposition. Success has been more difficult to measure this season, since the focus has been ever more on securing good games of Fives rather than winning. We have found that the pairing flexibility arising from this approach has allowed us to play more close matches. Perhaps too it has helped the après-Fives. This element of the season has been more regular than ever, which is an essential part of our brand of Eton Fives.
We are encouraged that this season we are not stopping our season as spring arrives, but thanks to Will Skjøtt, we participated in the Westway Summer Super League. Thanks to some rather excellent and entertaining play, this format of the game suited the club. So much so that we emerged victors of the competition. This is a great achievement and says a lot for our depth of talent and Will Skjøtt’s organisation.
Over the years, Westminster has become our home, and that remains firmly the case. However, since there appears to be a growing appetite for Jesters Eton Fives, we have two new fixtures for the coming season at Emanuel School in Clapham. Last season the Jesters managed to play 4 of their sports on the same day at Cambridge; this excellent venture is another important part of the club collaboration between their Games. Ronald & I hope that this fixture will again be well supported in November. Finally, a thank you to our fellow match managers, for tirelessly turning out competitive sides – this job has been considerably easier in recent years due to the support of so many of you – for which I am most grateful. Finally, we do encourage any of you to apply for games; we now have a good spread of options, in terms of both location and playing standard.
Charlie Brooks reports for Rugby Fives. We have had another successful season on the Rugby Fives front, with the usual Jesterly spirit thrown in to some competitive and well fought matches.
In the annual Strawson match, an early start allowed the teams (Jesters v RFA) to contest a superb match and arrive first at the dinner to enjoy the hospitality. In a remarkable turn of events, the match was tied. The Cambridge weekend was a fantastic addition to the fixture list in November, making use of the new Cambridge University RF courts which are in regular use by the strong University side. We look forward to the Cambridge week-end becoming another regular highlight of our season.
As I am able to report every year, the tour to Edinburgh continues its great success, expertly guided by the Akermans. 25 fixtures over the course of 3 days, played by an enthusiastic, but increasingly knackered, touring party of over 30 players, with lunches, drinks and dinners – what an incredible way to promote our sport and encourage the future generations!
At the start of the year, we welcomed James Tilston on to the Jesters Committee to help out with the Rugby Fives world. I’m sure many of you will have played with or against him and recognise him as not just a very good player, but also a very Jesterly player. Please do get in touch with either of us if you would like to play or volunteer to organise a fixture – we rely on the RF members to keep the Jesters Rugby Fives section active.
Alastair Gourlay reports for Rackets. The 2015/2016 Jesters racketeers started with the usual rivalrous match against the T&RA at the Strawson evening in October and throughout the season up to April, matches were played against schoolboys, old boy association clubs and school masters throughout the country stretching from Bristol to London.
The main event for Jesters Rackets in the 2015/2016 season was our continued sponsorship of the British Amateur Rackets Singles and Doubles. In the singles, there was a full draw of 32 competing for the coveted trophy and it was a momentous occasion for Jesters’ Rackets as fourteen Jesters and candidates, comprising nearly half the draw, entered the competition held at The Queen’s Club.
Three Jesters, Alex Titchener-Barrett, James Coyne and candidate Richard Owen made the semi-finals, sadly only Alex progressed to the final in which he defeated Tom Billings 3-0, to be crowned champion. What made it even more extraordinary was that this was the eighth time in a row that Alex had won the championship.
A new record and one that will surely stand for a very long time and be extremely hard to beat. The Jesters should be immensely proud of Alex for this phenomenal sporting achievement.
Following up in February was the British Amateur Rackets Doubles championships which were held at Tonbridge school, where once again there was a strong turnout from the Jesters. On a very fast court, the final was contested by ex-World Doubles Champions, Jesters Tim Cockroft & Alex Titchener-Barrett, versus some new young guns on the scene, Richard Owen (candidate) & Tom Billings. However, the final was a one-sided affair as age was the deciding factor and saw the young guns cruise to a 3-0 victory. One wonders if the five game thriller semi-final that Cockroft and Titchener-Barrett played the day before was one of the reasons for their unexpectedly one-sided loss against Owen & Billings – or possibly the eclectic nightlife in Tonbridge? One will never know! I would like to thank all the match managers who worked tirelessly to put together pairs to play the various Rackets fixtures. Serve up and Play for the 2016/2017 season!
Adam Dolman reports for Tennis. The men and ladies of The Jesters Club’s real tennis section have enjoyed another season representing the club in over 30 matches at courts countrywide.
The season began with the Frank Strawson Memorial Match (Jesters v T&RA) at The Queen’s Club in October. Twenty players competed across three doubles and four singles matches. As ever there was much confusion as to who was playing for whom but ultimately the match was drawn in true Jesters fashion and a great dinner was enjoyed by all.
October also saw the Jesters take on the LRTA at Hardwick, strongly supported as ever by the wonderful Sheila Macintosh and also the annual fixture at the Hyde in Bridport, efficiently organised by Jamie Turner.
The first Jock Burnet Cambridge weekend was celebrated in November with all Jesters sports represented in matches against the university. Our thanks goes out to John Burnett for all his hard work – it was an excellent occasion and we very much look forward to this event again this year.
January saw the return of Mansell Jagger’s wonderful fixture down at Canford, a fiercely contested match against the Army at Hardwick organised by Peter Flood. On January 29th we had the annual fixture, organised by Corin Jenkins, against the Hurlingham Pigeons at The Queen’s Club competing for the new David Vaughan Memorial Salver. This silver Memorial Salver was purchased using a generous gift from a cousin of Jane Vaughan in the United States and made by Keith White in his Plymouth workshops.
Anthony Jenks took over match manager duties from Clare Weatherill for the Queens fixture in February and Mike Henman oversaw another splendid weekend at Radley in March.
Once again the Jesmond Dene fixture was a highlight in the calendar thanks to the continued support from Simon Sanders up north. There are now four Jesters amongst the Jesmond Dene core players, and Tony Harrison and John Duns chose to ‘cross the fence’ and Jest for this match. Simon duly noted that in the 8 years since he took on the fixture, the Jesters’ record is Played 8, Won 3, Drawn 1, Lost 4, with a total of 34 matches won by Jesters and 35 won by Jesmond Dene. Pretty well matched!
These and other fixtures have been well supported throughout the season and I’m delighted to announce that there will be a new fixture against Wellington commencing in March 2017. Sadly though we are struggling to find match managers and players for the Leamington, Moreton Morrell and Oratory fixtures. I would love to revive these fixtures, as they are an integral part of our calendar. Once again, a huge thanks to all our match managers, host clubs and professionals.
Peter Dunne (President of the United States Jesters) reports for the United States. The U.S. branch of the Jesters Club remains an active and engaged group. Currently we are 470 members with 7 additional members living outside the United States. This past month, we elected a class of 19 new members representing all regions within the United States. For the first time in our history, the Membership Committee considered applications for female candidates and we are proud to announce that five lady Jesters have been accepted for membership. A majority of the newly elected Jesters came to us through the Squash world however we are seeing more and more Rackets and Court Tennis players becoming Jesters. The geographic diversity of our branch continues to expand. While we still count New York City and Philadelphia as our two largest contingents, we are continuing to see membership growth in cities such as San Francisco, Denver, St. Louis and Chicago.
Carter Fergusson, class of 1953, remains our U.S. Representative and continues to act as our most trusted advisor. Our Executive Committee consists of Robert Mosier (Los Angeles) serving as Vice President, Mark Pagon (Philadelphia) is the current Treasurer, Alex Dean (San Fransisco) is the Secretary and Robert Burton (Michigan) wears two hats – Fixtures Chairman and Membership Chairman.
The U.S. branch of the Jesters Club continues to actively support and underwrite the games we love. Under Bob Burton’s leadership, the U.S. Jesters coordinated with U.S. Squash to host six intercollegiate non-varsity squash round-robin tournaments throughout the United States. We have identified this as an area in which we can have a very positive impact. The U.S. Jesters are also the title sponsor for the collegiate college doubles championships and have been so for the past four years. In addition, we help underwrite the U.S. Open in rackets and the National League in court tennis.
The highlight of our calendar continues to be the Annual Weekend. This past year, it was held in Atlanta, Georgia. About 85 Jesters and their spouses convened for three days of social events, culture outings, golf and of course the Games we all love and support. This year, the Annual Weekend will be held in New York City from September 29th to October 2nd. Please join us if you can. The venues and camaraderie will be first rate.
This past Fall, the U.S. Jesters were delighted to host a touring side from South Africa. Seven hardy souls and six spouses started their journey in New York City and continued south through Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Baltimore, Delaware and Virginia. The tour concluded with their arrival in Atlanta to join us for our Annual Weekend.
The U.S. Jesters also sent a touring team of six to the U.K. for an informal Court Tennis tour. Over the course of 10 days, they played on 12 courts covering London, Oxford, Cambridge, Hayling Island and many points in between. The highlight of this tour was certainly the opportunity to join the U.K. Jesters at their annual black tie dinner at the Royal Automobile Club in London as well as a private tour of Wimbledon.
Jon LeHeup (Chairman of the Canadian Jesters) reports for Canada. I am pleased to report that this past year has been a successful one for our Club. The contingent we sent on tour to South Africa in September thoroughly enjoyed the time spent in that wonderful country. All members returned home relatively unscathed and with glowing reports of the hospitality of their hosts. They look forward to welcoming the South African side this September. The Ontario and BC Jesters recently hosted the British Royal Marines (their second tour of Canada). [Our friends, the Royal Marines, reported independently to the UK Hon. Secretary, that they had received the most amazing hospitality on this tour – thank you Canada!]
The Canadian Jesters are particularly proud of the success of the Jesters University Squash league which had nineteen men’s and women’s teams from twelve universities participating. Alex Carter and his Committee are to be commended. An effort will be made this year to expand the League (building on the success in Ontario and Quebec) to include all Regions and eventually to culminate in a national championship.
The past year saw the continuing popularity of the annual week-long Junior Jester squash camp led by Lester “the Jester” Jinks and his family on beautiful Prince Edward Island, with a record number of youths preparing to attend this July. Meanwhile the Atlantic Jesters tested out their withering skills and rising immobility on the new 26.7 feet wide international softball doubles courts (these 2015 Pan Am Games transplants have found a permanent home at Squash Moncton). The Atlantic Jesters are also preparing to host the 2016 SA touring team with stays in Halifax and Moncton.
The Quebec Jesters continued their primary mission of supporting junior and university squash during the 2015-2016 season. In addition to providing financial support through the sponsorship of junior and university events, numerous Jesters contributed time and effort in coaching Quebec’s promising young players, organizing tournaments and other events, and encouraging the participation of young Quebec players in local and national events.
This was a busy year including well attended AGM, Christmas Party and Spring Party. Special thanks to chair Norm Crook and the members of his Social Committee. The Jesters Under 35 doubles tournament continues to be a popular event.
The Club again supported two successful junior tournaments. The annual Jesters Weekend included a doubles Calcutta, golf tournament and BBQ.
Garth Van Rensburg (Chairman of the South African Jesters) reports for South Africa. The Jester’s club in South Africa is having a busy year. In February some 40 Jesters from all over the country encamped to the St Francis Bay doubles tournament, which is run by local Jester Greg Darke and his committee. After much frenetic squash and socialising, the trophy was taken by Johburgers Steve Nicholson and Craig Wapnick. The Knysna chapter will be hosting the Gerry Brink doubles tournament this year which includes The Southern Cape, Western Cape and Eastern Cape along with an invitational Barbarians team
Our traditional fixtures are going well against clubs and universities, but this year we are laying emphasis on schools and squash development programmes. Eastern Cape Jester Alan Stapleton has proposed that we extend our strategy of Squash development into mentoring the youth in other areas such as education and careers. The inaugural match saw the Johannesburg Jesters playing against the Egoli Development Squash elite team. This group which was begun some five years ago, comprises many children who are both homeless and parentless. The results have been phenomenal and their players are dominating both Gauteng and many age groups in South African youth Squash. The day was a great success, and the second match will take place in August but will incorporate players from the mainstream schools. The Jesters National U 23 Series will be played in October and may have a few tweaks as our national champion, Steven Coppinger, is developing a strategy to include younger age groups into the tournament.
In September we are sending six Jesters over to our Canadian friends in a team which for the first time includes a lady tourist, Tracey le Roux. At the same time we are receiving an incoming British crew who are Brexiting the UK for some sunshine and, I believe, cage diving with Great Whites in Gansbaai. Let’s hope that this isn’t another Isandlwane. The end of their tour coincides with the World Masters in Johannesburg. I am proud to say that the tournament is being headed by a group of Jesters led by Chris Grainger and Des Sacco. For those unfortunates who exit the tournament early, the local Jesters are running a doubles tournament on our doubles courts at the Country Club Johannesburg. All the best in squash to you all!
Jonathan Buckley (Australian Representative) reports for Australia. The membership of the Australian Real Tennis Jesters was constant this year, with no elections and no departures of which we are aware.
The major fixture was the match in September with the Royal Melbourne Tennis Club, in Richmond. Three hours of Tennis on both the RMTC courts was keenly contested, yet the result was less memorable than the dinner which brought together many old friends. Over 40 tennis players and partners dined on seafood, beef cheeks, mash, plus appropriate wines, and followed by bread & butter pudding.
For the forthcoming year, Iain Buchanan and Andrew Gould are liaising with the US Jesters to confirm a long awaited inbound tour of Australia. Plans are also underway for another Jesters tour of Tasmania, visiting our nine fellow Jesters at the Hobart Tennis Club.
Two years ago the Jesters hosted a formal dinner, addressed by The Australian newspaper’s chief cricket writer and celebrated author, Gideon Haigh, to celebrate good sportsmanship. We hope that another function will be organised this year.
The Hon. Secretary has been informed during the year of the sad loss of the following UK and Overseas Jesters: Michael E Ash (1951), Derek A H Baer (1948), Harold D’O Baker (1953) (United States), John Barrett (1977), Ian Campbell (1951), Michael Cox (2006), John G Davis (1967) (United States), Neil Desaulnier (1966)(Canada), Kevin Dowling (1974) ( South Africa), J P M Drummond (1959), John Easter (1968), Colonel C S Faith (1970), Chris Forster (1971) (South Africa), George A Haggarty (1975) (United States), Air Vice Marshal Robin Lees (1952), Ian McAvity (1970)(Canada), Stewart McInnes (1979) (Canada), John F Malo (1967) (United States), John M Mills (1947), E N C Oliver (1953), Roger Radford (1968), Arif Sarfraz (1999), Dr. Paul M Smith (1958), Ronald Swash (1954), Shane Sydow (2014) (South Africa), J M G Tildesley (1959), Bill Tully (1960) (United States), W D N (David) Vaughan (1950), Tony Williams (1962) (South Africa), Tony Williams (2016) (Canada), Dr. Peter Willis (1948), John T Willmott (1950).