Tributes paid to ‘inspirational’ Roger

By Contributor   |   Supplied Content   |
Monday 27th March 2017 7:00 am
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• Roger Bowkett with his ‘Unsung Hero’ award he was presented with in 2016 in recognition for all his loyal services to local table tennis. Picture by James Bird

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MEMBERS of the local table tennis community were shocked and saddened to learn of the recent death of well-respected player and coach Roger Bowkett.

Roger, who lived in Gunnislake, was vice chairman of Okehampton Table Tennis club and the main organiser and lynch-pin of the Okehampton and District Table Tennis league.

Roger was a well-known, local figure whose sporting interests included cricket – until recently he regularly turned out for Gunnislake and had a reputation as a fearsome bowler.

He also loved his model railway, which he had built in his garden. Every year, Roger would open his garden to friends and neighbours to raise money for his chosen charity, Children’s Hospice South West. The incredible skill and attention to detail which went into the railway was evident to all and it was always an enjoyable and successful day.

Undoubtedly though, it was table tennis that was Roger’s main passion.

He played competitively in two local leagues with much success. He was a long-standing member of the successful Tavistock team who won the league for at least eight out of the last 10 years.

However, it was when Roger took up coaching 10 years ago that he really found his calling. He decided he wanted to give something back to the sport that he had played and loved for more than 60 years.

Roger worked tirelessly in a number of schools and clubs inspiring young people to take up table tennis and organised many local tournaments to give the younger players a chance to try it out and progress in the sport. Many of the children that Roger coached now have significant standings in the national rankings.

Roger’s work as a coach was recognised last year when he was presented with a national award from Table Tennis England for his voluntary work.

Julie Beman, close friend and mother of Angharad and Ptolemy, whom Roger coached, said: ‘Roger was an inspiring man who touched the hearts of so many people through his generosity, kindness and patience.

‘He gave freely of his time to help others whether it was to help his neighbours, friends, his local cricket club, his local charity or his table tennis family.’

A spokesman for Okehampton Table Tennis club shared this tribute by saying: ‘Roger was not only an incredible ambassador for our club but for table tennis in general in the local area where he coached and developed many juniors at various schools across the region.

‘He will be greatly missed here but never forgotten.’

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