George Arthur has passed away

It is with great sadness that we report the loss of Hamilton-Russell regular George Arthur.

Peter Rust, Secretary of the M.C.C. Chess Society, kindly provided the following tribute:

“We are sad to announce the death of George Arthur, a long-standing  member of the Club who was in regular attendance at cricket matches and functions.  George represented the Club with some distinction at Chess where he was a regular team member. In addition, George was an active participant in the Bridge Society.

“A tribute from John Adams (former Club President of Welwyn Garden City Cricket Club) read “The very, very sad news of the death of George Arthur leaves us, I think, with a double loss. We have lost a true and delightful gentleman and we have also lost a link with the past. Everyone will have their favourite reminiscences of George depending perhaps, upon their age. You may recall him as a more than useful player; as a captain, particularly of the 3rd XI which he, in effect, founded; as an able, effective and extremely conscientious administrator both for the Club and for the DPSA; as an umpire; or perhaps just for his enthusiasm and encouragement; for the stories and the famous recitations; or, just for standing at the bar smiling and chatting… and being George. George was one of the first people I met when I joined the Club in 1971 and I remember thinking that here was a very nice man, a decent man… a “proper chap”. In the forty-odd years that have passed I have never had cause to revise that opinion. And I have never met anyone who thought differently. But I think there is something more. George was, of course, a link to the past: the history of the Club (obviously) but also to the way that the game was played in the past. I sensed that George loved cricket not just because it was an exciting test of skill, nor just because of the competitive element (no fading flower, George, he loved a close hard-fought competitive game) but because cricket – the cricket that George played – was a game of values, a game of sportsmanship and decency. Could anyone even imagine George claiming a catch that he didn’t take, or remaining at the crease when he’d snicked it behind? No. Or abusing an opponent or an official? Of course not. Why would anybody want to play sport like that? In losing George the Cricket Club has lost a great character, a great supporter and a great friend. It has also lost someone who exemplified and in a sense personified the spirit of the game.”

“David Longrigg also added a few words at the funeral:- “George was a prominent and long serving member of the MCC Chess Society. He had been a member of the Chess Club since its beginning, fourteen years ago. He was then in the first Chess team – a founder member – and played for the MCC against the other London clubs in the Hamilton-Russell League. He was an adventurous player, took his chess seriously, played with great concentration, and was difficult to beat. During one whole season, in fact, he was undefeated in the League. He always turned up for games when he said that he would, and was always on time, although he had further to travel much further than most other chess players. He played conscientiously and well on whatever board he was asked to play. His five minute chess, too, was very effective despite his advancing years (he was 89 years of age). Above all, he was such excellent company, not too despondent if he didn’t win and not boastful when he did.  We will remember George very fondly and the many enjoyable times we had together.”

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