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50th Anniversary celebration - 8 June 2023

Cippenham Table Tennis Club is fifty years old and an evening of celebration was held at the Club on Thursday. All current and past members were invited and it was good to see so many present. The evening was organised by Martin Adams who did a splendid job with the refreshments, the cake, balloons and a special mug, one of which was presented to all those present. On the day, Martin then ran a fun hardbat doubles event with partners drawn at random.

The evening started with a short address by Graham Trimming, founder of the Club some fifty years ago. Graham emphasized that the Club was all about its people, past and current members, volunteers and players.  He paid tribute to all those who have helped grow the Club into the nationally-renowned entity it is today. Graham also presented an 80-page publication containing well over 400 photographs that told the story of the history of Cippenham TTC. This document is linked below:

Graham then gave way to Martin who announced the draw for the doubles competition. Twenty-four players, i.e. twelve doubles pairings, were drawn into four groups. The winners of the groups were Steve Piercey and Maciej Dlugozima, Albert Cheung and Ricky Hardcastle, Michal Garski and Priyanka Sabharwal and Akeel Mir with Arjun Prasanna Kumar. Quarter-finals and semi-finals were played before the final itself was won by Steve and Maciej against Parminder Singh and Elroy Hull who had finished only second in their group behind Michal and Priyanka.

Following the preliminary round of doubles, it was time to cut the cake and this was performed, ceremonial style, by the three Life Members present: Graham, Ken Phillips and Peter Hiller.

There was a fine spread of food, all helped by a case of red and white wine, kindly provided for the occasion by Barclays Bank. Martin had also produced a "name search" grid puzzle in which names of Cippenham members, past and present, were disguised and this amused attendees as they sought to identify the players. And if going back fifty years was not enough, Graham set out a display of a small selection from his collection of table tennis artefacts going back a further seventy-five years to the turn of the last century. For many, this was the first time they had seen such equipment or even known of its existence.

To see photos of the bulk of Graham's collection, please go to:

Graham Trimming's Origins of Table Tennis Collection’s albums | Flickr

Written version (i.e. before any add-libs!) of Graham's speech:

"Good evening, ladies and gentlemen and welcome to our 50th anniversary celebration. So good to see you all here!

"Wow! 50 years. What were you doing 50 years ago? Quite a lot of you were not born. Some of you probably have parents who were not yet born!

Me? … I had just started playing league table tennis and I needed somewhere to play. I looked around at the other clubs that existed in the Slough area and thought – how about starting my own? So I set about doing just that with a few friends, some of who played already and some who didn’t.

Cippenham was not the club then that you see today. We started with two tables, one of which was not really up to match-grade even by the standards of those days, we placed them in a corner of St. Andrews Shared Church and we were up and running.

"We were young, enthusiastic, and greedy! One night a week was not enough, we wanted two leagues. So, we entered two teams in the Slough League and two also in the Maidenhead League. We were quite successful and that led to a massive expansion. Year two saw us with six teams in the Slough League and three in Maidenhead. That’s nine teams in local leagues, nearly twice as many as we run today. And that was year 2!

"Established players, such as Frank Earis and Peter Hillier (who I am pleased to see here tonight), joined our project and they attracted other good players. By 1978 we had a team that was Slough League champions, the first of 24 such titles as Cippenham became the dominant force in local table tennis.

Such was our ambition that, having won both the Slough and Maidenhead leagues in 1981 we considered ourselves ready for the next challenge, the National League. However, we soon found out that we were really not quite ready and resigned from that league after four seasons.

"1984 saw us move premises to a multi-table venue at the old Haymill School which had closed and then became a community centre of sorts. That gave us the opportunity to develop the club and start our now nationally-renowned coaching scheme. Two years later, Ken Phillips took over as Head Coach and has remained so ever since. In the years that followed Ken produced such a crop of talented youngsters that Cippenham started to dominate the national cadet and junior rankings, winning many team and individual titles in the decade that followed.

"Haymill had served us well, but it was not what we really wanted. We wanted to be in total control of when and how we used our premises. When the Foundation for Sport and the Arts advertised funding possibilities for sports premises, we thought “this is our chance”. However, it took five long years, a huge amount of hard work, a bit of luck and the advent of the National Lottery to make our dream become a reality. In October 1996 the building was completed and we moved into these purpose-built table tennis facilities, blessed with a beneficial financial arrangement with the Westgate School, and having raised over half a million pounds from the public purse. I well remember Ken saying to me at the time: “you build the centre, and I will make it work” and he (Ken) certainly has done!

"Of course, Ken and I have built a team around us that works hard and has certainly made this venture a success. You all know the current members of the management team: Ken, Elena, Sue, David, Steve, Elroy, Keith, Martin and Sunjay. But I also want to pay tribute to those who preceded them. Back in the day there were Dave Lee and Derek Cook who both later moved away from the area, then Peter Hillier (thirty-two years as Treasurer), Frank Earis, who was always a great inspiration to me, and Alec Watson. Following them were Steve Joel, Rhys Evans, Alan Farral, Terry Boxall, the indefatigable Jacquie Lovell, Malcolm Makarian, Catherine Hayes, Jan Chapman, Paul Baker and Steve Smith. These, along with others who have also made lesser but nonetheless important contributions, are the people that have made this club what it is today and we must never forget their endeavours. After all, the club, even with a first-class venue, is nothing without the people – people that make things happen!

"It has been my privilege to call this club my life’s work and to have shared this journey with so many talented, enthusiastic, hard-working and successful people.

"I would like to thank Martin for making the arrangements for today’s event and to Barclays Bank who gifted us a case of red and white wine. Lovely!

Finally, you may already know that I have just written and published this history of the Club which I shared with all club members yesterday and which can also be accessed via the website."

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