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Farewell to Paul Danby 1939 - 2019

Updated Jun 25, 2019
Published Jun 07, 2019
Paul passed away peacefully on 7th June at home after a lengthy battle with cancer.

Paul will be missed by his family, Seacourt and Queen's Club and the Real Tennis world in general. Paul has also been a long term supporter of Ladies Real Tennis and Rackets.

Paul Danby

(1939 - 2019)

Paul Danby (far right) with Howard Angus, Alan Lovell & John Ward

It is with regret that we announce that Paul Danby, a founder member of Seacourt Tennis Club, died aged 79 peacefully at home on 7th June 2019 after suffering from cancer for some years.

Paul played a key role in rescuing the Hayling Island Real Tennis court and establishing the Seacourt Tennis Club in 1965/66.

The old private court built in 1911 by John Marshall had lain empty since 1959, and the Seacourt Tennis Club Ltd was incorporated in March 1966 for the purpose of buying the premises and forming a Club. Tennis play commenced that summer.

In 1966 the Club offered badminton and one lawn tennis court as well as real tennis. Four Squash courts were built in 1970’s and a rackets court and sports hall added in 1980.

Much of the development and vision behind these initiatives was due to the enthusiasm and hands on input from Paul. He was instrumental in encouraging Peter Dawes to become head professional another milestone in the Club history

Paul Danby was a gifted games player excelling at cricket, mainly as a batsman, playing for the eleven at Portsmouth Grammar School and good standard club cricket afterwards.This laid a fine foundation for racket sports which came naturally to him; Badminton in the early years, and squash. He had received lessons from Marshall’s old pro Duncan Wilson at Seacourt and following the re-opening of Seacourt became the Club's leading player. He was a founder member of Petworth House Tennis Court playing there as well as Hampton Court. He was a good enough player to win a round or two in the Amateur in the 1970’s, and continued to hold his own in his age group until very recently, playing in the over age tournaments in the USA, Australia and UK.

He moved to London in the early 1990’s and was a regular player at Queen’s and Lords. He served on the T&RA Tennis Committee for many years representing Seacourt.

It is hard to over-estimate his impact on the early formation of Seacourt. With Bill McHardy and Alf Fleming they inaugurated the Seacourt Silver Racket - the world's premier handicap tournament. With Douglas Sharp and Unigate as sponsor, they staged the first ever World Tournament (won by Chris Ronaldson) at Seacourt to coincide with the opening of the rackets court.

There can be no doubt his efforts have enhanced Seacourt’s world-wide reputation for excellence.

For those of you who would like to attend his funeral, the arrangements are as follows:

St Mary's Church
Hayling Island
Tuesday 25th June at 2pm and afterwards at Seacourt Real Tennis Court

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