Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Bernard Lyddon Hookins International Sportsman

Bernard Lyddon HOOKINS was born on 16th November 1883 at 15 Mansfield Grove, Nottingham to William HOOKINS and his wife Ellen Jane (known as Nellie) (nee FISHER). He was the 3rd of 7 children and his second forename, Lyddon, was the maiden name of Bernard's paternal great grandmother. Bernard's father was a Methodist Minister as was William's brother John Lyddon HOOKINS and consequently this involved regular changes of address for the family over the years.
None of the family can be found in the 1891 Census but by 1901 Bernard was living at 27 Steade Road, Eccleshall, Sheffield with his parents, 5 siblings, a visitor from the LYDDON family and 1 female servant. At that time Bernard was a Bank Clerk.
In 1909 Bernard married Lucy CLARK in Tadcaster and by 1911 they were living with an Uncle and Aunt at 5 Whetley Grove, Bradford by which time Bernard was the Manager of the Yorkshire Penny Bank in Pontefract. In 1912 their daughter Betsy was born in Pontefract.
From the 1920s Bernard became involved with table tennis at local and national levels and I am indebted to Diane Webb from the English Table Tennis Association for information and photographs relating to Bernard. Bernard was an English International in table tennis and took part in the World Championships in 1926, 1928, 1930 and 1935. He competed in the Swaythling Cup in 1930 and was positioned 6th and reached the last 16 in the Men's Doubles in 1928 and 1930 with Adrian HAYDON and Victor BLANDFORD respectively. He played at international level against Wales in 1925/6 and the Irish Free State, when he was captain on both occasions, in 1929-31. He took part in the English Open in 1928, 1930 and 1933, the Men's Doubles in 1930 with Frank AMIE and in 1933 with AJ WILMOTT and in the mixed doubles in 1930 with Miss BURTON and in 1933 with Mrs AMIES.
Bernard (centre) with AJ WILMOTT & anor

From 1928 Bernard became involved in other official capacities within the game both locally and nationally. He was President of the West Riding Table Tennis League in 1928/9, Secretary in 1928/9 and President in 1934/5 of the Yorkshire County Table Tennis Association, Chairman of the newly founded Whitby & District Table Tennis Association 1934-6 and its English Table Tennis Association Representative in 1934-5 and Chairman and English Table Tennis Association Representative of the newly formed Doncaster & District Table Tennis League in 1937/8.
On a national level he represented West Riding in 1928/9 and the Northern Area in 1931/2, was Representative and Secretary for the Northern Counties, became Honorary Secretary and Treasurer of the English Table Tennis Association and latterly in 1931 was elected as Vice President.
He appears in the centre rear of a photograph at a reception by the Mayor of Pontefract celebrating the first Hungarian tour of England which is reproduced here.
First Hungarian Tour of England 1928

Bernard died in Whitby in 1946 by which time his daughter Betsy had been married to John BUTTERFIELD for 8 years and had presented Bernard and Lucy with 2 granddaughters. He pre-deceased Lucy by 13 years when she died also in Whitby.

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