(7 July 1925 – 3 May 2015)
Geoffrey Harold Reed was born on 7 July 1925 in London. The son of a Baptist deacon he was brought up in Brownhill Road Baptist Church in Catford. During the war he was evacuated to Lancashire and eventually attended Colts Grammer School where he passed the nowadays equivalent of O levels. He started work with the RAF after leaving school as an apprentice mechanic and then moved to Jersey in 1948 when his parents, Edith and Harold retired to the Island. Geoff’s grandparents had also moved to Jersey some time before where his Grandfather practiced as a dentist with their family home at Beachwood Cottage at La Rocque. Geoff became a Hoover salesman before joining Ken Sheppard at Forum Garage which was initially a car hire establishment. Geoff became the junior partner and the firm progressed to holding the Peugeot dealership. Geoff remained there until he retired.
Known simply as ‘Geoff’ he was Mr. Jersey Table Tennis and he remained the Patriarch of the sport until the day he passed away having officiated at the Inter Insular where Jersey achieved a last gasp win in the Aggregate when winning the Green Trophy 8—2. Since moving to the island after the war he was heavily involved in the organisation and training of junior and senior players initially within the Caesarean Table Tennis Club and he also became fully involved in the administration of the sport’s organising and overarching body the Jersey Table Tennis Association. He devoted his life for over 50 years to the sport in Jersey and served in virtually every capacity possible in the JTTA including President. He introduced table tennis to many hundreds of youngsters from all the different local clubs coaching them from beginners, and his methods have produced many Channel Island champions and highly ranked UK players. Some of these young people came from difficult backgrounds and Geoff managed to motivate them in such a way being involved in the sport to make them more disciplined and to give them a purpose.
Internationally Geoff was recognised as “Mr Jersey” when he regularly attended the International Table Tennis Federation meetings at his own expense. He became an international umpire in 1983 and umpired and refereed many top international matches. For ten years he was the European representative on the Commonwealth TT Federation management committee. He was also an active member of the Swaythling Club and remained fully involved on the JTTA Council. The former is for Table Tennis Champions and Officials who had represented their countries in World Championships. Geoff was the only member from Jersey and served for some 40 years attending the AGM and usually contributing as a scrutineer. He was well liked and was known as always willing to assist.
In 2006 he was recognized with a special award for his life time contribution to Table Tennis at the Channel Island Sports Personality Awards. Then in 2009 his endeavour and service was recognized by the sport’s world governing body, the ITTF who presented him their prestigious Merit award.
Geoff’s contribution to table tennis has been tremendous and selfless, not only at club level but especially at island level where he was a leading figure in achieving the long sought after goal of an island Table Tennis Headquarters. His contribution in time, effort and enthusiasm was surpassed when the JTTA had to find sufficient funds to build the new HQ at the FB Fields where all the clubs could play under one roof. Geoff mortgaged his home to provide the funds towards the costs of establishing the JTTA premises in FB Fields. Without this amazing gesture the Geoff Reed Table Tennis HQ would not have been built and opened on 16 June 1999. This has made a huge difference to the sport in the Island allowing the JTTA to host visiting clubs and Associations for tournaments, coaching and umpiring courses and most importantly as a base for schools to visit where the children can learn the rudiments of the game before taking the sport up full time. The Centre which bears his name will be hosting the sport of Table Tennis in the forthcoming Island Games and will be played under the newly installed state of the art LED lighting organised by Geoff very recently.
His memory will live on with the magnificent purpose built table tennis centre which bears his name. He is and will be deeply missed by all members both past and present of the JTTA.