Farewell Beryl Danby - 29 August 1914 to 25 January 2016

28 Jan 2016

Beryl Danby, mother to Paul, Nick, Felix and Joanna, possibly the oldest T&RA member, died on Monday aged 101.

Back row from left: Nick Danby (just off court – playing with Beryl), Paul Danby, Tina Danby, Unknown (Petworth), Duncan Ackery, Michael Pugh (Tom’s father), David Gaskell, Francis Snell, Len Petley, Felix Danby, John Parker, Joy Metherell, Unknown (Petworth), Ian Thomber, Ned Danby

Front Row from left: Pat Parker, Duncan Wilson (ex John Marshall’s Seacourt pro), Hew Strang, David Cull (MCC), Derek Barrett (Seacourt pro), Frank Willis (Manchester), Marjorie Snell (Francis’ mother), Henry Johns, Beryl Danby (just off court).

Beryl was very enthusiastic to take up Tennis when Seacourt was re-opened in 1966; she was then fifty two and still recovering from experimental brain surgery – the only one in her ward to survive! She said she needed exercise and another challenge.

Of course, she encouraged all, especially other ladies; and slowly more started playing. She enjoyed visiting other clubs and enjoyed the reaction it provoked when they realised that amongst the Seacourt team E.B. Danby was female. Where could she change at Lords, Manchester, or Leamington? Naturally our ladies were made welcome on court.

At the inaugural ladies event played in the Queens weekend on handicap, she beat Judy Hall (Angus) in the final. For many years she entered the British Ladies at Seacourt.

Frank Willis was a favourite of hers; she went up to Manchester each day to watch his World Championship against Peter Bostwick; thrilled when Frank pulled all four sets back on the Sunday, then desolated when he lost the deciding set on the Tuesday.

 As Seacourt she was front row at the final leg for the British Championship in 1972 when Howard Angus did take all five sets on the final leg to win the Title. To surmount this Howard became first the World Rackets Champion beating William Surtees. Then she watched Howard win the British match against Gene Scott at Queen’s for the Real Tennis World Championship that set up his win in New York. How she admired his determination, supreme ball control and footwork.

At the Opening of the new courts in Melbourne in 1975, she was delighted to be asked by Lord Aberdare to play with him to encourage other ladies to play there.

Sadly she felt that at nearly seventy she was too old to take up Rackets when the Seacourt Court was built. However, she enjoyed watching her grandsons’ successes and thought girls should play, too. She offered to donate a Trophy for the British Ladies Rackets as long ago as the early 1990s and was delighted when it was allocated for the schoolgirls under 16s, even if by then she had fallen and her broken pelvis which prevented her coming to London to watch and present it. Photos of the winners decorated her room, she always wanted all details and the results.

The Danby family will be celebrating her life at 1500, at St Peters Church, North Hayling on 8th February.

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