Croquet honours its faithful servant John Wakeford

Caversham’s committee secretary John Wakeford has received a Croquet Association diploma for “outstanding services” to the sport.

His citation also recognised “those who have been active in club or federation affairs over a long period.”

John was presented with his certificate by chairman Charles Briggs at the club’s Members’ Day on Saturday.

He had been put forward for the award in an expertly crafted submission which was a joint effort by Charles and club treasurer Brian Jamieson. Their submission read…

John Wakeford took up croquet in his late 50’s, whilst working at Lancaster University, on a half-sized irregular lawn on the edge of a cricket pitch. On relocating to Reading in 1998, John found Caversham Croquet Club, a small single-lawn club.  

At Caversham, he became the club’s unofficial AC coach, organising handicap cards for all five members, and was soon persuaded to join the committee as development officer. In 2005, thanks mostly to his efforts, fully paid-up membership had increased to eleven.

John has served continuously on the committee, in various roles, and has single-mindedly promoted the club, and the game, at every opportunity through the local press, TV and radio. Although primarily interested in playing AC, John oversaw the absorption into the club in 2011 of the Basildon Golf Croquet Club’s 20 GC players. 

During John’s time on the committee Caversham CC has grown in membership, and become more outward-looking, competing successfully in both AC and GC Southern Region leagues.

Currently secretary, John devotes much of his time to encouraging new members and GC players to take an interest in AC.  Largely as a consequence of his promotional work the club is now stronger than it has ever been with 60 members, of whom 15 are playing AC regularly and three of whom now have single figure handicaps.

John won his first competitive league match game, on the Isle of Wight, at the age of 83. He still cycles to the court every day, and is always available to help with mowing and general maintenance of the lawn and surrounds. He also holds a weekly session introducing AC basics for those members wanting to make a start in the game he loves so much.

The surprise arrival of John’s diploma came just a few minutes before the start of the Members’ Day festivities and put the icing on the cake of an extremely well-attended and successful event.