Bringing Chess to Visually Impaired People

The Gazette - February 2005

Sponsored by The Leeds Hospital Fund Charitable Trust
Edited by Peter Price
The views expressed in the Gazette do not necessarily reflect the policies or views of the BCA, nor those of the editor.

OBITUARY for Francis Collisson

It is with regret that I have to inform you of the death of Francis Collisson on 26th October 2004. His funeral was held on Friday, 5th November.

Francis was a much respected member of the BCA playing in the majority of over-the-board and some postal tournaments. He also travelled to the Haaksbergen tournament and he was greatly respected by the people in the Netherlands and he will be very much missed by them all.

Francis was the perfect gentleman and always welcomed you with a smile and only had good things to say about anyone he knew. He enjoyed his games of chess very much and also the social side of the tournament. He will be truly missed by all who knew him.

The following members of the BCA attended his funeral: Richard Harrington, Mike Murphy, Sally Kenealy, Clive and Phyllis Hodgkins.

Some thoughts from Richard Harrington compiled from his cassette.

I first met Francis in 1972 in a minibus as we travelled to the Kodak Sports Club. Although we both worked at the Kodak company, we were in different departments. We got chatting and I immediately found him to be a courteous and caring person who was very interested in how I was playing chess. At the time he was a far superior player and helped me a lot at the local chess club; and he would always give me a lift home afterwards. It was then that I realised his great sense of loyalty.

Sadly the club broke up after two years, and we did not meet again until 1990 at the local blind club by which time Francis’ sight was failing. He was a prime mover in the club, so helpful and encouraging to others. He would make the tea (of varying quality) and always showed that degree of consideration for others that we in the BCA later got to know.

Later we joined the Chesham Bowls Club, where again Francis soon got on with everybody. He was soon on the club committee, became team captain and chairman of the club. He took the team to many tournaments which were held over a wide area of East Anglia and the south. He would always insist that at the end of a tournament all the members of the club should remain behind to witness the prize giving. He would not leave until the ceremony and the speeches were over.

Francis had served in the Royal Marines during the war, and in each succeeding year he would regularly attend a cenotaph for the Armistice Day ceremony wherever he happened to be, to remember absent friends and to reminisce with old colleagues. Here again his great sense of loyalty revealed itself, and some of this has rubbed off onto me.

By this time we had joined the BCA. I always recall our trip to Dublin in 2000. Mick Murphy had to go into hospital, and it was Francis who visited him to give support and companionship. Such was his caring nature.

Francis was a good conversationalist, having a ready sense of humour and a fund of jokes. While he was concerned about matters in life he was not a worrier. Many people in the BCA would look forward to having a good chat with him, for he just knew how to put you at ease. The BCA has indeed lost a great character who will be remembered and sadly missed.