News Release - BSMTTC News 142
Dateline: 29 April 2022

Happy Birthday Billy!

 

Friday, the 29th April 2022, is Club President, William (Billy - 'the legend') Clayton's 90th birthday! But it was decided to celebrate it in style a little in advance! After all, Bath Street Marine Table Tennis Club likes nothing better than a great party! Apart from a great game of table tennis of course!! Members Mary Delamere and Colin Mitchell, along with members of Billy's family, organised a great event at Marine on Tuesday 26th at Marine. There are some pictures in the short video below!

What a great occasion it was, with friends, family, club members, special guests, and former work colleagues being among the many who popped in! Paul Leary, the Chairman of Marine AFC popped in to say hello and happy birthday. Karen Tonge, MBE, the North West Regional Chairman of Table Tennis and organizer of the Halton Table Tennis Centre, along with her husband Ken, was able to visit as was Susie Venner representing English Veterans Table Tennis. Susie's Mum has been a long time friend of Billy, her husband and Billy played together many years ago, and has been delighted to renew that friendship. It was also great to have past as well as present club members call in. It was particularly good to see Barbara Alcock (88) and Lil Randalls (90), contemporaries of Billy, who like him are no longer able to play, but able to share many happy memories! And then there was Harry, aged just 2, proudly holding a balloon marking Billy's birthday! Maybe he was a little bemused wondering what all the fuss was about, but there was no doubt he enjoyed some of the goodies from the excellent hot and cold buffet provided for the occasion!   

  

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Raising a toast to Bill

 

Billy's first cousin, Malcolm Clark (who looks after Billy's affairs for him) spoke for the occasion telling us a little about Billy. "I'm Bill's 1st cousin, we have been close ever since the days he used to babysit me! Bill was born in 1932. These were the halcyon days when a loaf of bread was a penny. a litre of petrol tuppence and a new car cost £295! The average house price was £509 and the year was also famous as it was the first year a Christmas message was broadcast by a British Monarch! 

 

Bill was born on the 29th April, but unfortunately his Mum, Florrie died when he was very young. He was brought up by his Grandmother and lived in Webster Street, Litherland with the Clark brothers, Thomas (my Dad), Jim, Ben, Bill, Harry and Walter, where he had a happy childhood. He was evacuated to North Wales during World War II and in the 1950's did his National Service, going to Egypt. where, I remember him telling me, his Sergeant Major told him that his name was spelt, B.A.S.T.A.R.D. (how times have changed!

Bill was married in the early 1960's at St Edmunds Church to his lifelong companion, Sadie, and they were married over 50 years until Sadie passed away. . Bill served an apprenticeship as a centre lathe turner at Campbell & Isherwood before moving on to Howsons, and before finally going up in the world at Otis Elevators! He served there for many years and it was whilst working there that he met the late great Bill Shankly when he went, with Phil Boersma, (an apprentice at Otis) to sign for Liverpool FC.

After Bill retired he had a few jobs. He worked for the Newspaper Federation, he did a train census and worked as a lollipop man! Bill held his retirment party at Everton FC, where it was arranged for everyone to visit the Everton trophy room. it was bare!!

Bill had two great passions in his life. His table tennis and his bowls. He started playing Liverpool League table tennis at Wavertree Labour and ended up at Bath Street Marine, where he became a legend - and a great encourager to new members and players. He was also a big part of the veterans scene and to my knowledge he has played in Stockholm, Croatia, and Canada.

For many years, Bill played bowls at the Brook Hotel and in later years would often be seen ambling along College Road to his favourite watering hole, The Gunners Club!

Finally, can I ask you to raise your glasses, or cup of tea, for a toast to Bill, wishing him a very Happy Birthday!"

Happy Birthday Bill. The short video below shows some of the guests who attended the party. There was great food, and brilliant entertainment from our own, Sue Young. Including 'Happy Birthday to you' which everyone joined in with. The cake was delicious, and Harry the balloon carrier was an absolute star!