News Release - BSMTTC News 106
Dateline: 7 March 2020
His Last Race!
Former racing driver, and long time club member, Graham Oates, reached the finishing line in his last race on Thursday 5 March, when he died peacefully in hospital aged 86.
Graham had been a member of Bath Street Marine Table Tennis Club for many years, culminating in the 2013/14 season when he successfully captained the F Team to promotion in 2nd spot in Division 4 of the LDTTL (See BSM News 14). Graham was a quiet, private man, and a gentleman. He did things his own way, but always efficiently and effectively. This was typified by the running of his own table tennis club, Formby Holy Trinity, which he took on in the mid 1960's. That club was at the time a section of Formby Tennis Club, and Graham in his own style took on the running of the table tennis section single handedly. Building it up to become a strong force in the Southport League.
Through mutual acquaintanceship's Graham became a member of Marine also playing in both the Liverpool and Southport Leagues and as a result of his interest in the Formby club was instrumental in introducing a number of players to Marine who regularly played in both leagues, including a number who still play for both club. For some 25 years Graham ran the Formby club entirely on his own. Until in the mid 1990's when the tennis club insisted that he involve at least one other person in the running of the club. It was at that time he turned to fellow club member Brian Crolley, who then became Chairman of the table tennis section of the Formby Holy Trinity TTC. Brian was, and is, of course also a member of Marine. Brian comments that, "effectively nothing changed, Graham just carried on as before, I just counter signed the cheques as required by the bank".
During his time with Marine Graham also served as a member of the Management Committee as well as encouraging cross participation between the two clubs between their respective members. Another love of his life was motor racing. He had a fine Lotus car, only one seat, no lights, and trimmed down to the bare minimum. He was very successful competing at Aintree Circuit, Scarborough mountain Circuit and Oulton Park in Cheshire. He was regarded as something of a “Speed King” by the Motor Sport community.
Graham originally came from the Isle of Man and still has family living there. He and his wife, Adriana, spent a lot of time in the Isle of Man on holidays. Graham was very proud of his Father, who was a TT Racer on the Isle of Man and who raced with the famous Jeff Duke back in the 1950’s. Graham was also very proud of his family; his wife Adriana and his two sons.
Graham has been a great servant of and advocate for table tennis for more than 50 years a tremendous achievement. His dear friend Brian Crolley says, "I think Graham will now rest in peace, he deserves it".
Pictures of Graham in action, and wearing his favourite Bath Street T-shirt supplied courtesy of Ray Hibbs.