Tributes paid to Bexhill family man who ‘dedicated his life to volunteering’

Roger Gillett died on April 22
Roger Gillett died on April 22

Tributes have been paid to a family man from Bexhill after his recent death.

Roger Gillett, who dedicated his life to volunteering in Bexhill, died on Monday, April 22, at the age of 85.

Roger Gillett was awarded the Table Tennis England South East Contribution to Table Tennis Award from Harvey Webb, TTE Honorary Life Member. Photo by Diane Webb

Roger Gillett was awarded the Table Tennis England South East Contribution to Table Tennis Award from Harvey Webb, TTE Honorary Life Member. Photo by Diane Webb

The jewellery repairer was well known from the decades he spent as president of the Hastings and District Table Tennis Club as well as both president and secretary of the Bexhillians Table Tennis Club.

Through table tennis, Roger met his wife Iris, with whom he had three children, and coached many players, including England junior internationals Adrian Moore and Teresa Bennett.

Diane Webb, of Bexhillians table tennis club, said: “A lifetime dedicated to table tennis, Roger Gillett was the heart and rock of Bexhillians Table Tennis Club which he ran for over 60 years and of which he was the president.

“Roger was always keen to help and advise players from beginner upwards and his advice was based on sound knowledge. Roger will be missed by so many people in the world of table tennis at club, local and county level who he helped along the way.

“Our condolences go to his wife Iris and all the family.”

Table tennis played a major part in Roger’s life, having taken up the sport at the age of 11.

He started playing in the Bexhill league when he was 17 before taking a break to do his National Service.

On return, Roger became club coach and used his skill and gentle manner to help other players.

Paul Courtel, a friend of Mr Gillett’s, added: “He kindly coached me, enabling me to play in the third division of the Hastings and District Table Tennis league.

“We spent several late evenings, after table tennis, discussing the political direction of our nation.”

As a member of the executive committee of the Bexhill Town Forum for many years, Roger was chairman of a 2017 meeting to discuss the community governance review for Bexhill.

He was also chairman of the Bexhill 100 club for many years. To celebrate this, a procession of classic cars will leave Brockley Road at 2.45pm today and proceed along the seafront and head for Hastings crematorium for his funeral at 3.30pm.

Donations can be made in his memory to the Bexhill Youth and Community Centre in Station Road – the home of the Bexhillians Table Tennis Club.

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