The 22nd and final Bill Standing tournament was held on Sunday 9 September. There was a certain amount of chaos caused by the number of participants who had not signed up, but we got four rounds in in the end and most were quite well matched games. A final was played out between Carol and Steve Olley against Ewa and Richard Colbey. Kim and Jim S had both earned places in the final but gave it up out of a combination of generosity and a need, in Kim’s case, to fetch her daughter from the airport, and Jim’s to avoid exacerbating an injury.
Fittingly Carol’s side was able to triumph in the final, and club chair William Winstone made the presentation of not only the usual, and rather unimaginative bottle of prosecco, but the trophy, which all agreed Carol was to keep in perpetuity in recognition of her work on the tournament, right up to this year, and long standing friendship with Bill.
I hope that although the tournament will not continue Bill continues to be remembered at the club.
Bill Standing: A Tribute
Bill Standing had been Chair and Head Coach of Highgate for more than a decade when he died of a heart attack on the New Year’s Eve which brought in 1996. He was in his mid-fifties. The first Tournament in his name was held in September that year and has been held yearly ever since, Bill’s friend, Demos, presenting the Club with a Cup for the event.
Bill’s commitment to tennis and to Highgate has a long legacy among people who’ve been at the Club for a while – and also among parents in the neighbourhood. People still recall how much their children enjoyed – and gained from – his coaching and from his character.
He spent most of his evenings and weekends at the club, usually with a tennis racquet in one hand and a screwdriver in the other to fix the taps which provided water for what were then five shale courts. Along with his dual roles of Head Coach and Chair, he was also chief handyman. Added to which, he began a junior teaching programme which has gone from strength to strength.
His long-term partner, Denise, had an antiques stall and they both seemed happy to pursue their different interests.
Bill welcomed to Highgate anyone who was passionate about tennis.
He was responsible for me joining the club, and brought in people like Liz and Ahmad Zahedieh, Martin Ilett, Nick Harvey, Richard Rogers, Tim Kineally, Pete Oliver, Ray Hensman and many others.
He was a larger-than-life character and his death was a shock to many of us. Shortly afterwards, Liz and Ahmad set up the Bill Standing Tournament, running it for 20 years before handing over to Richard Colbey who organised the 22nd – and final – tournament, on September 9th. this year.
Bill was a terrific pal to me, and I know he holds a continuing place in the affections of many hundreds of people. At the Club, and in various homes around Crouch End, he is remembered with respect and affection by those whom he once coached and for whom he made tennis more than just a game.