The Veterans’ table tennis community has been stunned by the sudden death of one of its great characters, Sue Collier, at the age of just 56.

A European Youth and World Veteran medallist, as well as a former Senior England international, Sue has been described as “one of the shining lights of the VETTS circuit”.

Funeral arrangements

Sue’s funeral will take place at Macclesfield Crematorium, Prestbury Road Macclesfield SK10 3BU, on Wednesday, August 23, 2023 at 3.30pm. Afterwards everyone is invited to Mottram Hall Hotel, Wilmslow Rd, SK10 4QT.

For further information, please visit the VETTS website.

Born in Maidenhead in 1966, Sue represented Berkshire and later Cheshire and won multiple medals at home and abroad, across the age groups.

She reached No 5 in the Senior rankings, No 2 in both Cadet and Junior and No 1 in the Veterans.

An aggressive attacker, Sue started playing when she was 12 years old. Her first major title was in 1981, at the European Youth Championships, where she gained a team silver medal alongside Lisa Bellinger and Jean Parker.

Among Sue’s other headline achievements, she won bronze in the O40 Women’s Singles at the World Veteran Championships in Auckland in 2014. She had reached the quarter-finals of both the singles and doubles at the 2010 edition in China.

A Cadet International who made her Senior debut in 1980, she competed at numerous English Opens and English Junior Opens.

At the Senior National Championships, she was a Women’s Doubles runner-up alongside Andrea Holt in 1996 and topped the podium in the Veteran Women’s Singles in 2011, a category in which she was silver medallist in 2012. She was also a Veteran Women’s Doubles silver medallist alongside Sandra Rider in 2014.

Veteran Women’s Singles National Champion in Sheffield in 2011 (photo by Steve Parkin)

In the age group Nationals, she was runner-up in both Cadet and Junior Girls’ Singles in the early 1980s.

Also while in the Junior ranks, she was twice under-16 girls winner at the Butterfly ESTTA National Schools Championships and twice Intermediate Girls’ Singles champion at the Schools International Championships, where she also won Intermediate and Senior team golds.

She was Girls’ Singles winner at the National Association of Youth Clubs National Table Tennis Championships in 1983/84 and in 1983 won the Sealink Youth Cup. 

One of more unusual highlights of Sue’s career was winning the Beneficial Trust Grand Prix as a Junior in 1984. Part of the prize was to go to Korea as part of the National Squad to train.

Sue (centre) and Andrew Syed with the Korean squad (photo by SJ Line)

A regular player on the Veterans circuit at home and abroad, Sue has played twice in the Veterans Six Nations, in 2009 and 2010, and also played in the Veterans International Team Event, winning gold.

Among her numerous medals at Open events all over the country and on occasion abroad was a silver at the 1983 Israel Open. She also had success at county Closed events in Berkshire, including winning county singles and doubles titles as a Junior and Senior.

Tributes have been flooding in for Sue on the VETTS Facebook page.

Susie Venner from the VETTS said: “Sue was one of the great characters of the table tennis community. An incredibly talented and gifted player from an early age, but also a bundle of mischievous fun and energy.

“Sue was born into a table tennis family with very supportive parents who encouraged her to many successes as a junior and senior. However, I think it was as a veteran, that Sue found her ‘table tennis home’.

“As a member of the VETTS, she won countless Masters titles, but I know she would have valued her contribution not in terms of trophies but in the depth and breadth of the friendships she made and the camaraderie she shared.

“Sue was one of the shining lights on the VETTS circuit. An exceptionally gifted player, but more than that – she’d be the first person to jump over a barrier to help someone who was injured; the first person to sit in your corner and offer encouragement; the person who would be most outrageously dressed in her England clothes at international tournaments; the first person to congratulate an opponent on the rare occasions she lost – and she was the first person to offer a hand of friendship to everyone.

“Sue had been plagued by injury in recent years – on occasion playing on through the pain – but had finally been diagnosed and placed at the top of the list for a hip replacement. She was so looking forward to it so that she could get back on the table with the sport and the people she loved.

“She was everyone’s friend and will be missed by us all.”

The thoughts of everyone at Table Tennis England are with Sue’s family and friends.