A number of past and current senior players of the League, including 2 Life members, have passed away in recent weeks. Details below are from obituaries posted on the league’s website, including that of a player who passed away shortly before the season began. The League has made donations in memory of the long service of the players to charities selected by the families.

Sylvia Coombs

We learned of the death on 31 January of Sylvia Coombs, a life Member of the League since 1996.  Sylvia had been the League’s General Secretary for some years in the early 1980s and received the League’s President’s Trophy for 1984/5. She was the league’s representative to Bucks County TTA for some time and was a county player.

Sylvia played for the County Arms and Woburn Sands Clubs, moving to play from the Kingston Table Tennis Centre when it opened. Sylvia mainly played for the Choppers in Division 1, dropping to play for the Emperors in Division 3 for her last couple of seasons here, before moving to live in Southern Ireland. Many long-standing League players will remember Sylvia. She would have been 90 on 10th February.
Among her league achievements, Sylvia regularly participated in the League’s Closed Championships and won the Ladies Singles in 1983/4 and the Ladies’ Vets in 1988/9 and 1990/1. Sylvia won the Ladies’ Doubles in 1983/4 with Esther Baggaley (now Carter), in 1984/5 with Dawn Campbell, in 1988/9 with Lisa Robbins and in 1990/1 with Janet Dixon (Pullan) and the Mixed Doubles in 1980/81 and 1983/4 with Geoff Giles and in 1984/5 with Ken Muhr. Sylvia also enjoyed success over several seasons at the Bucks County Closed Championships, winning Ladies’ Singles, Doubles and Mixed Doubles events. Sylvia was ranked either No.1 or No.2 in the County Ladies’ Vets rankings for several years and also featured in the County Ladies rankings.

Ed Londy

Ed Londy passed on 28th January, aged 96. He had played in the league for many years, his final match being in 2017 aged 90, which is a huge achievement. Always a kind and patient personality and a gentleman of the sport, Ed took his table tennis seriously and was always willing to support the league and its tournaments, albeit without great personal success. For many years, Ed played for Newport Pagnell, then moved to play out of the Kingston Centre after it opened. For all his efforts, Ed was awarded Life membership of the league. He will be fondly remembered by long-standing league players.

Mick Miles

Mick Miles (main picture) passed away on Friday 23rd February, aged 82, following a short but devastating illness which required hospitalisation for his final few weeks. Mick had continued to play league matches up to Christmas and his illness and untimely death came as a great surprise to many who knew him. Mick started playing in the league some 20 years ago, always for the MK Club having previously played in Luton.  Some players recalled having played against Mick in Luton and also having learned the basics of the sport from him.

Mick initially played alongside his daughter Julie Snowdon in Division 2 and subsequently played in lower divisions, helping to support youngsters as they learned the match skills needed to succeed. These included his grandson, Julie’s son Adam, who now plays alongside her in Division 1. Mick was a key-holder at the Kingston TTC and regularly assisted in coaching and training sessions there. Mick was always willing to help anyone keen to progress within the sport and did so in a kind, patient and generous manner, and without ever showing signs of anger or frustration, whether during a match or at other times. Mick was one of our local unsung heroes, who was always happy to contribute without making a fuss about doing so.

Graham Moore

Graham Moore, captain of Mursley Mallards in Division 7, passed away suddenly on Friday 1st March. This was Graham’s second season in the league, having had a successful first season when he was part of the Mursley Merlins team who won division 7 in 2022/223. Graham was an enthusiastic well-liked player who was looking forward to his impending retirement and to being able to play table tennis more regularly.

Ralph Hughes

Ralph Hughes passed away on 15th August, aged 82. His daughter has indicated that Ralph endured a rare illness diagnosed some 3 years ago, but that he never complained and showed remarkable resilience and dignity, as well as strength and courage, as the illness progressed.  Ralph was a stalwart of the League for some 40 years until the 2014/15 season. He played for about 20 years at Newport Pagnell Table Tennis Club, including Ron Osborne, who played alongside Ralph for some 30 years. The team name later changed to RHFM, being the initials of his business Ralph Hughes Farm Machinery. The team moved to Greenleys TTC for a season, then to the Newport Pagnell Unionist Club for some years, before finding a home for a dozen years at Kingston until he stopped playing.

Ralph was an extremely tough and competitive player to face, never giving up while there were still points to win. His concentration levels and strong mental attitude meant that opponents would rarely win without a massive struggle to break down his determined defensive play, keeping the ball low over the net while hoping to create a chance to unleash a forehand drive. Ralph was always very friendly and willing to chat, sometimes at adds with his fierce competitiveness as a player.

Ralph’s team mostly played in division 2, with occasional forays into division 1, where the team struggled. For some 30 years, Ralph was the best performer in the team, consistently finishing fairly high in the divisional averages, often in excess of 70%.

What adds to the family distress is that Ralph’s death follows shortly after that of his son James, who died on 3rd August.

Michael Howard

Chairman MKTTL 2023-24