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Farewell to Peter Ellis

Update Sep 08, 2022 (Memorial Details added)
Published Jun 16, 2022

Legendary Haileybury Rackets professional passes away at 89

The Memorial Service of Peter Ellis will be on 15th October at 11am at Haileybury Chapel followed by a reception close by in Big School.

It would be helpful if people could indicate their ability to attend either via email to richard.ellis@creambr.co.uk or Dave Makey dave.makey@tonbridge-school.org to assist the caterers.

Peter Ellis with Chris Cowdrey
Chris Cowdrey presents "the Pavilion" to Peter Ellis

It is with deep regret that the T&RA announce the peaceful passing of legendary Haileybury Rackets professional, Peter Ellis, on Tuesday 14th June, aged 89.

Peter came to Rackets via cricket, where he had played for Middlesex. His 32 years at Haileybury, 1964 to 1996, were full of adventure. Peter will be remembered by many generations of Racketeers for his expert coaching in the Rackets Courts, and for the lifelong impact he made on both Rackets and cricket at Haileybury. He will also be remembered for his loyalty to the school, his sharp sense of humour and his devotion to his wife Lillian, whom worked alongside Peter in the Sports Shop.

Tribute by David Makey:

In life you often hear people saying that a certain person is a legend, often with good reason but the reality is actually not always quite so true. In Peter Ellis’s case, legend is not a big enough word to describe him. He really was the most extraordinarily amazing character that I, or people in the Rackets and cricket world, have had the pleasure to spend time with.

Peter arrived at Haileybury in 1964 having spent three years as Head Pro at Oxford University, and his talents as a coach were soon obvious. Haileybury were represented in finals at Queen’s nearly every year in his time as the Haileybury Professional. From his first finalist in 1967 to the end of a purple patch that ended in 1983, apart from the 1968 and 1981 season, Peter produced finalists in the singles or doubles at Queen’s every year. Their purple patch was between 1974 and 1983 where Peter and his boys reached 12 finals and won all 12! You might want to read the last sentence again as it is quite remarkable! An unbelievable statistic which shows just how well those boys were prepared and coached to win for Peter and the school. After the purple patch, Haileybury went through a barren spell, and though they appeared in six finals in the following eight years, they lost all six! However, Peter had not quite finished yet, as during his last 5 years as the Pro, Haileybury reached another nine finals – winning three more cups! This completed a truly wonderful and outstanding record as a coach.

I have used the term purple patch numerous times in this tribute to Peter, and though there is probably a better phrase to use, I like it! In the middle of Peter’s reign as coach, Richard, Peter’s son, was his finest player, though Robert Wakely may disagree! Richard won three cups including an incredible three Foster Cups and the super coach/father was rightly as proud as punch.

We, the Pros, are all indebted to Peter for his service to the world of Rackets. He was more than a legend and Peter will be greatly missed by everyone who spent time listening to his hilarious stories, either in the bar at Queen’s, in his office at Haileybury or anywhere else. He will affectionately live long in the memory of us all.

The T&RA extends its thoughts to his widow, Lillian, son, Richard and grandson, Jack.

Peter's funeral will be held at Hoddesden on Friday 24th June 2022 at 4 pm at Woollensbrook Crematorium, Hertford Road, Hoddesdon EN11 9BN, followed by a buffet and drinks reception at St Margaretsbury Cricket Club, Stanstead Abbots, Ware, SG12 8EH.

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