This weekend, all around the world there have been acts of remembrance. I received today this picture from China, Ying Wa, which is on the Kowloon side of Hong Kong I believe. Where a thanksgiving service was being held.
On the very day when we remember those who have served our country and gave their lives that we might be free, I am very conscious that wars still rage! I am not going to get into the politics of that, but it seems timely that on this day when we think of peace, we remember those who are still suffering the effects of ongoing conflict. What has all of this got to do with table tennis you may well ask? I am very conscious that within our membership at Bath Street Marine Table Tennis Club we have 3 young lads from Ukraine. We are delighted they are with us enjoying our sport and their freedom - but possibly if they were asked, they might say they long to be elsewhere - at 'home'!
Surely this is one of the greatest things about sport and table tennis, it can reach across so many barriers and obstacles and can truly be an inclusive activity that can be enjoyed for a lifetime. This day has also provided an opportunity to reflect on past servants of the sport, you will have your own memories, your own heroes, and it is great to reflect on those who have provided dedicated service to this fabulous sport over many years.
In the summer this year we were delighted to have a group of Ukrainian children visit our club for an afternoon of table tennis as part of a Holiday Club activity. The Ukrainian flag remains on the wall of our hall still. It is there 'lest we forget' the privilege that is ours. Sometimes, it seems however that all too soon we forget! Perhaps it is why Rudyard Kipling penned those immortal words in his poem 'Recessional' written to commemorate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee.
We are truly privileged people with a fantastic hobby, table tennis, that we can freely enjoy. But do take a moment to remember.........
And below, some of the Ukrainian children who visited Marine this summer, and also our very own Ivan Maksym, wearing a very sporting hat! Ivan was able to return home to Ukraine for a short time over the summer, but is back with us again now progressing with his studies, and enjoying table tennis at Marine.