There's a photograph on the wall of our club room which I have looked at many times, but the truth is that maybe I have in the past looked with unseeing eyes! Recently, as a result of the corona virus pandemic and its impact on league table tennis, I have been looking at former members of the club and, in particular, individuals who had played league table tennis for the club. To my surprise I found there were a considerable number! Gradually I am posting pictures of a few on our Facebook page. It was in the course of this quest that the picture in our club room was brought to my attention, here it is - the colour version is still on the wall of the club room!
What I hadn't really picked up from this picture was the year, 1999! In that year the club celebrated its 50th Anniversary. In 2019, just 20 years later, we celebrated acquiring our own permanent home. In effect it has taken 70 years for the club to acquire its own premises!! You may want to compare the pictures from 2019 celebrating the grand opening of the new premises, and the number of people present, with the number featured in the 50th Anniversary picture. Sure, that wasn't the whole club membership in the anniversary picture, but I have been reminded by talking to others about that picture of the change there has been in the club in the last 20 years.
Alex Gould in the centre of the picture was one of the founder members of the club, and did a great job bringing in a significant number of players to play league table tennis for the club. But I am told that prior to 1999 it was quite likely that if you were a member of one team that you may not know the members of other teams! At that time there was almost nothing by way of 'social' side to the club! 1999 was, I'm told, the beginning of the social era and the anniversary dance the first major social function. And my, what a difference that has made. Now, we are open 7 days a week - well at least we will be once the corona virus lockdown is ended! And almost every weekday morning there is social and recreational table tennis for as many as turn up! Often more than 20 people attending the morning social sessions, with play now on 3 tables instead of just 1.
So, today, I would like to focus on the individuals who have brought our club through to where it is now. Here, I feature Alex Gould. He was followed by Peter Ross and working alongside Peter, was Ron Georgeson who is also in the above photo. Alex, Peter and Ron have of course all now passed away. I was fortunate enough to meet and talk with Ron before he passed away, what a lovely gentleman he was.
I would also like to feature our current President, Billy Clayton. One of our eldest and longest serving members. Billy isn't quite as active these days as he was when I first joined the club a little over 10 years ago. But his love and support for this club continues as strong as ever. So there are a few pictures of him here too! And finally, I would like to mention Ian McElwee. Ian was for many years the Treasurer of the Club, before stepping up to become Chairman in 2017, a post he held until his retirement from club management in 2019. Ian is still actively involved as a player and junior coach; and is also a mine of information about past members of the club due to having one of the longest continuing playing records in the club!
It is possible that in the Liverpool League there are clubs that have been members of the league for a continuous period for longer than Bath Street Marine. But in this writer's opinion there is no other club in the Liverpool League that has developed so much and offers such a broad and exciting range of table tennis possibilities, including social, recreational and competitive table tennis and junior coaching, as the current Bath Street Marine Table Tennis Club! Here's to the next 70 years!!
First pictures - Alex Gould (who was at one time the oldest playing member in the league)
Next pictures - Peter Ross (Peter is on the left in both pictures)
The third series is Ron Georgeson - Ron was a player, club secretary and a county umpire.
And finally, a few of the 'younger' Billy Clayton - you can find Billy as he is now elsewhere in these pages. Ian McElwee is also featured here.