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Real Tennis player and supporter Dr Nigel Brown, O.B.E., has died

Feb 10, 2023

Dr Nigel Brown, a passionate Real Tennis player and generous supporter of the game, passed away in January.

The Real Tennis community is mourning the death of Dr Nigel Brown, O.B.E., who died peacefully on January 19th, 2023. Brown was an important member of the Cambridge University Real Tennis Club for nearly 50 years, along with his wife, Fiona, who passed away in September of 2021.

Shares Peter Raby, former CURTC President, “A Renaissance man of many talents and enthusiasms, Nigel discovered Real Tennis as a convert from squash, and became both a very good player and a passionate lover and advocate of the game in all its aspects. Coached initially by Brian Church, Nigel never ceased to analyse the game – and his own game – and to seek to improve his technique and tactical skills, as I was able to witness at first hand as a regular opponent, but also as one of his doubles partners. It was impossible not to enjoy a game with, or against, Nigel, so infectious was his enthusiasm.”

Raby shares that Brown was an enthusiastic supporter of Real Tennis, whose generous contributions helped to ensure the steady development of Cambridge University Real Tennis Club.

“Without his advocacy and contribution, for example, it’s unlikely that the world champion Rob Fahey would have thrown his lot in with Cambridge, to the inestimable benefit of the club, and to the evident progress of many individual players, particularly the younger generation, who Nigel consistently encouraged,” Raby says.

Brown's company, NW Brown, also sponsored the Inter Club tournament at Moreton Morrell for several years. "He helped make it a real event," shares John Miller, who regularly organised the tournament. "He was a good man."

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In addition to being a passionate Real Tennis player and supporter, Brown was recognised with the individual Queen's Award for Enterprise Support in 2007, an O.B.E. in 2008, an honorary doctorate from Anglia Ruskin University in 2004, an appointment as High Sheriff for Cambridgeshire (2010/2011), an Honorary Fellowship at Hughes Hall, and an Associateship of the Royal Academy of Music. He was also the founder of N.W. Brown Group Ltd., the classical music agency Hazard Chase, ArtShare (a funding scheme for arts organisations), the Stradivari Trust, and numerous Chairmanships of public bodies such as the Greater Cambridge Partnership and the Arts Theatre Trust. Additionally, her served as patron of the Cambridge Music Festival and the NW Brown Music Prize.

“I find it hard to realise that Nigel, with all his dynamism, is no longer a part of the Cambridge and national scene,” Raby writes. “Fiona’s death coincided with a sudden decline in his own health, and in recent months he had been a shadow of his former unique personality. But he leaves a rich legacy. We send our sincere condolences to his son Ben, and to the rest of his family.”

To read Raby’s full tribute to Nigel Brown, click here.

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