‘Incredible evening’ as classic squash memories relived

NEARLY 100 squash enthusiasts enjoyed a nostalgic evening in the main Saffrons clubhouse as well as raising money for the Saffrons and two charities.

Vivid memories of the great squash days of the sixties, seventies and eighties were revived as ladies and gentlemen of the once-flourishing Eastbourne Squash Racquets Club exchanged many a story of a momentous battle.

The club was formed in October, 1950 with 26 playing members and closed on December 31, 2011 with a similar number. At its peak, it had a membership of 250 and a long waiting list.

Squash was played to an extremely high standard at Devonshire Park up to 1974 and then at the Saffrons until 1996.

The emergence of the Ball Park resulted in a reduction in membership and when the Saffrons’ courts were finally closed at the end of last year, they were in a sad state of disrepair.

Six times Eastbourne champion Simon Swallow was among the golden oldies of yesteryear’s local squash world attending the recent reunion. Several others made considerable journeys to be present.

It was organised by former player Tim Firth and Pat Maycock, wife of ex-chairman Peter Maycock.

Mr Firth welcomed the company and on behalf of all those present thanked Mrs Maycock for her work behind the scenes in making the evening such a success.

Mr Firth outlined the history of the club, recalling the days when both men’s and ladies’ teams enjoyed much success in the County League and exhibition matches involving professional players took place on the Saffrons courts.

Even the touring New Zealand cricketers enjoyed the use of the courts when they were in Eastbourne to play Derrick Robins XI in the now defunct Town Cricket Festival.

A significant proportion of the money raised through the sale of old photographs and winners’ boards was donated to the Saffrons and the remainder of the evening’s proceeds were split between East Sussex Hospices and the Len Gausden Breath of Life Fund in aid of the British Lung Foundation.

There was also an opportunity to read once again the colourful squash reports in the Herald written by the late Howard Kirby.

Mr Firth told Herald Sport, “It was an incredible evening and great to see so many attending the event.”