My father George was born in Kingsbury on 1st August 1931 and he spent much of his early life in Kingsbury along with his sister Cathy.
He left school at the tender age of 14 and completed an apprenticeship as a carpenter & joiner.
He then went on to work at Kingsbury Green where he was on rivet duty for the de Havilland Mosquito which was a battle aircraft prominent in the 2nd world war.
George was later called up for national service and he spent the next four years serving in the RAF at Bentley Priory in Stanmore. It was there he met lifelong family friend Kay Mosley who sadly passed away 2 years ago.
A few years after ending his service at the RAF George lay his career roots down at the Provident Mutual as a life assurance inspector and he worked there for over 30 years.
George maintained an admirable commitment to his work but his main passions were elsewhere:
According to a variety of sources his top priorities in life were, (in no particular order):
- table tennis.
Right from when he first became a member at the Wembley Institute back in 1948, table tennis has featured prominently in George’s life.
The Institute was a leading club filled with players of all standards up to international. Many of the League’s future management were members at this time but apparently George said that it never crossed his mind at the time that he’d still be involved over 50 years later; and not only as a player but committee member, administrator, county representative and allround go-to table tennis man.
Throughout George’s table tennis years he spent an inordinate amount of time at the Harrow Leisure Centre, primarily running the club and coaching players of all ages. He’d joke that the place was like a second home.
Today marks the start of the Summer tournament at the Leisure Centre and I’m really pleased to announce that the trophy awarded at this event has just been renamed in George’s honour. It will be named the George Walsh trophy and not only does the tournament begin today but coincidentally ends on (what would have been) George’s birthday August 1st. I’m sure you’ll agree it’s a very fitting and touching tribute to his many years of dedication and commitment to the sport he loved.
Table tennis is also responsible for my existence as it was at a table tennis club in Stanmore where George first met my mum Linda in 1968. Apparently he was a little hot around the collar at the time but it’s not clear as to whether this was due to my mother’s radiant presence or because he’d been running around after a ping pong ball for several hours.
Either way, they must have hit it off nicely as they spent over 42 years happily married and produced two lovely children; Colin and Caroline... and me.
Family holidays were always a joyous occasion as we’d all bundle into the car and we’d all have a good old sing along to Frank Sinatra.
Brittany was a frequent holiday destination for the family. George was a great lover of all things French, especially the food. This might go some way to explaining why he wanted the Marseillaise played at his funeral. It’s an unusual choice but George wasn’t a conventional man. He was an warm-hearted, intelligent man who enjoyed sharing a joke and greeting you with a big hug.
I hope you all remember George with a smile on your face.
EDIT - a long time friend of George's sent a pretty lovely letter - I thought I'd include it above.