It is with great sadness that we announce the recent passing of Bob Wood (90), who passed away peacefully in March. Bob Wood has been a devotee of the sport of table tennis in Blackpool and Lancashire for over 50 years. There won’t be many playing today on the Fylde Coast who haven’t come across Bob in one capacity or another, whether that’s attending one of his coaching sessions as a junior or playing in Lancashire Schools County competitions he organised.

Bob Wood receiving a Blackpool Sport Lifetime Achievement Award from the Mayor of Blackpool at Blackpool Town Hall on 20 Feb 2010. 

Playing table tennis for Bob started as something to do between games of badminton but table tennis soon took over, especially after he joined the local Boy’s Club and started to play in the Youth Club League and then the Blackpool and District League. Bob played representative games in the Lancashire and Cheshire League and served on the Blackpool League Executive Committee in various capacities including that of General Secretary for 10 years from 1970 to 1980. Bob accepted the honour of becoming a Life Member of the league in 1976. As a qualified coach, he encouraged young people at the schools in which he taught, Bailey Secondary Modern (Fleetwood Hesketh HS) in Fleetwood, to play table tennis both within the school curriculum and as an extra curricular activity. He also coached many junior players at Savoy TT Club based in Fleetwood.

Up to his retirement from coaching in 2012, Bob regularly attended Blackpool TT Club junior coaching sessions at Blackpool Sports Centre on a Monday night and is warmly remembered by many for his patient and clear coaching skills. To quote one of many recent tributes to Bob “he was a gentleman, a friend, someone who guided so many people to be the table tennis players they are today.” 

Bob Wood receiving a standing ovation at the Blackpool presentation evening on 11 May 2012 following his retirement after 50 years of coaching.

Nationally, he will be best remembered for his involvement with the English School’s Table Tennis Association (ESTTA). In 1971 he attended the ESTTA Annual General Meeting, representing the Lancashire School’s TTA and was elected to the ESTTA Executive as a representative from an Affiliated School Association.  Five years later he accepted the position as ESTTA Vice Chairman. In 1979 he was elected Honorary Treasurer of the Association. He continued in this role until 2002 at which time he accepted the honour of becoming a Life Member of ESTTA. However, he continued on the Executive until ill health forced him to step down in 2012. 

English Schools’ Table Tennis Association Executive Officers taken at the Lea Green Sports Centre, Matlock in 1980. From left to right:  Eddie Mitchell (Competitions’ Secretary), Bob Wood (Treasurer), Tom Matthews (President), John Arnold (Chairman), Mike Vicars (General Secretary).

His school involvement included not only that as an Executive Committee Member but as a Non Playing Captain at many School International events both home and abroad and as a coach on ESTTA Coaching Camps. His enthusiasm and commitment to schools’ table tennis over 40 years was second to none!

Thanks to John Arnold MBE for contributing to the above.

Bob’s funeral will take place on Thursday 14th April 1:15pm at Carleton Crematorium, Poulton-le-Fylde FY6 7QS.