Doug, who died on 7th December 2001, served in the army from 1941 to 1946. He began fencing under the instruction of Tim Garratt in 1949. He became a member of Northampton Foil Club, formed from Tim’s group, later that year. The venue was the Old Unitarian Church buildings on Abingdon Square, Northampton. Gradually most of the keener members of the foil club also joined the Northampton Fencing Club, and eventually the foil club faded away.
Doug left Northampton in 1952 to live and work in Hampshire. He joined Portsmouth Fencing Club in 1952/3 and also fenced with staff members and pupils of Bedales School (England’s first Co-educational Public School), situated just outside Petersfield.
Doug and Betty moved to Letchworth, Hertfordshire, in 1959. He became part of the newly formed Letchworth Fencing Club and eventually became Club Captain and started teaching juniors. During the early 1990’s, he met one of those ex-juniors at a Veterans’ Event – teacher and pupil were now both Veterans!!
Doug and Betty returned to Northampton in 1962 and rejoined Northampton Fencing Club at what was then Northampton School for Girls, St George’s Avenue. He was elected President of Northampton Fencing Club in 1980. In 1982 after much searching for a nationally run coaching course, he qualified as a Club Foil Coach. In 1983 he was upgraded to County Coach – Foil. He was a member of the National Coaching Foundation.
As an early member of the Veterans Association, he won their National Epée Championship in 1981, he was a Bronze Medallist at the Bedford Open Epée in 1985.
He won the NVA Epée Competition for over 65’s in 1991 and the RASTATT (Germany) Veterans Open Epée 1992 – Senior Group. In 1995 he won the Bedford Invitation Epée Plate.
Doug was a classical fencer in every sense of the word, a true gentleman. His fencing career spanned 50 years and he made many friends along the way. He spent many hours teaching beginners and experienced fencers alike. Doug will be sorely missed not only for his leadership skills, but for his sense of fair play, integrity and diplomacy.
At the last AGM when he retired as President, he said to the club members “look to the future – not the past, that has gone – take up the challenge, enjoy your fencing, enter competitions, be determined to always try harder, think positive and you will win that fight and go on to be a stronger and better fencer”.
Doug was a regular at the early Veterans championships. At that time I had never fenced épéee and considered it something of a hooligans weapon compared to foil.
Doug changed my opinion. His accuracy and skill with an épée was a revelation to me and he was the reason I took up the weapon.
I remember him as a quiet, elegant man and of course a pleasure to fence.