TRIBUTES have been paid at the annual meeting of Worthing and District Table Tennis Association to chairman Jim Holden, who was described as “a stalwart of Sussex table tennis”.
Members and officials observed a minute’s silence in memory of Jim at the start of the meeting. He died, aged 70, in May.
As well as holding office for the association for 20 years, Jim was still an active player for Rustington’s Woodlands H team in Division 3, winning the President’s Cup with his team just a few weeks before his death.
President Peter Wales said Jim’s leadership as chairman had in turn resulted in the Worthing Association being held in high esteem by the Sussex County Table Tennis Association and other table tennis organisations with which he was connected.
“Jim will be a very difficult person to replace with the loss of his wisdom and experience in guiding this association,” he added.
Vice-chairman Alan Barwick, who was elected as Jim’s successor as chairman at the meeting, said: “With the passing of Jim Holden we have lost a stalwart of Sussex table tennis. He was a real gentleman and a good sportsman and will be greatly missed.”
Born in Wiltshire, where his mother was evacuated to during the Second World War, Jim qualified as a chartered engineer with private practices in London, later moving to Chichester when his employer relocated from the capital, and, in 1974, joined the newly-formed Arun District Council, retiring five years ago as principal engineer.
He had played table tennis from his teenage years onwards, and as well as competing in the Worthing and District League, he played in the South West Sussex League. He recently qualified as an umpire in the sport, and was secretary for the Woodlands club.
His middle son, Graham, was with Lancing B team in Division 1 last season and is also the league’s webmaster.
Jim’s wife, Pat, is a teacher and trainer with the Fitness League and a director with Extend Exercise for the over-60s in Sussex and Surrey. Jim took part in routines with both groups last year at the Royal Albert Hall, the only man joining in, with hundreds of women.
He leaves two other sons, Paul and Sean, who also share their parents’ enthusiasm for sport, playing ultimate frisbee and disc golf, while Graham is a keen tennis player, too. There is also a grandson, Connor.
The family is donating a trophy to the table tennis league in Jim’s memory, to be awarded each season to the most improved youngster.