Bringing Chess to Visually Impaired People

The Gazette - November 2010

Sponsored by Sean O'Brien
Edited by Guy Whitehouse
The views expressed in the Gazette do not necessarily reflect the policies or views of the BCA, nor those of the editor.

Obituary for Clive Hodgkins

Clive Hodgkins was born on 29th May 1929 and died on 29th August 2010.

Calamitous, loving, industrious, valiant, exuberant. Well, Clive, how can a few words begin to describe you and do you justice? I don’t know, but we’re going to give it a shot.

Clive’s funeral was the first time he’d been on time. He was always late for everything! Phyllis never stopped reminding him when he arrived two-and-a-half days late for a date with her. He would regularly arrange to meet her at the local picture house where she would patiently wait for him until the film was about to start, and then she would go in alone and sit in their favourite seats and he would eventually join her later. Fortunately the seats were always free, otherwise who knows what might have happened? His most common excuse for being late was work and many school events were missed due to his love of the job.

During their lifetime together Phyllis was never quite sure who his first love was, her or the fridges.

Clive was always known for being very accident prone, and if Warwick Hospital had been handing out loyalty cards he would have been first in the queue. Not many years went by without him being admitted for one thing or another and by his own admission the last eight Christmases have been his last.

Once Clive had a burst waterpipe and a two-and-a-half foot deep trench had to be dug alongside the drive and the house for the replacement pipe. That night he popped next door to see the neighbour and fell into the trench. The neighbour kindly agreed to take him to the hospital as he had injured his leg. When he asked Phyllis if she was going with him, she replied with a sigh: “No, it’s like home from home for him, he won’t need me there.” He returned later that evening with his leg strapped up and normally that would be the end of the story, but Clive was never one to do things by half. The next morning Sally received a phone call from Phyllis with an urgent plea to send Baz round as soon as possible because, and I quote: “Your bloody father has now gone and reversed the car out of the garage and into the trench, he needs Baz to come and help him lift it out.”

Despite all his mishaps, disability and ill health Clive was always uncomplaining and determined to carry on as normal. If anyone ever asked him how he was, he would always reply, “Not too bad”, even though sometimes you could plainly see this wasn’t the case.

Clive became involved in BCA as a result of my coming home one weekend from Lickey Grange School in 1983 and saying to him: “Dad, I want £6 to enter a chess tournament in London.” His reply was: “Over my dead body. I want some more details and to know more about it first.” I returned with Sheila and David Milsom’s telephone number, and after talking with them he agreed to let me go to the tournament and enjoyed with Phyllis a weekend break in London.

Although Clive could never play chess, he would often come into the chess room and see if he could ascertain how I was getting on. He used to think that if an opponent had more pieces than you it must mean he was winning. One day at a BCA event he came to see how I was doing and my opponent had six pieces to my three. When I finished the game and went into the bar he said, “Well, I suppose you lost that game as your opponent had more pieces than you?” I replied: “No, I won because my pieces were better than his.” I think if Clive had learned chess he would have been a good minor section player.

Clive always enjoyed BCA events even abroad, having been an integral part of the annual trip to Haaksbergen for many years. I am sure he will be greatly missed at BCA events.

As a husband, dad, granddad and great granddad he was kind, loving and forgiving. He was always there in times of difficulty, offering help and assistance unquestioningly. He was the mainstay of the family and his opinion was valued by us all. That said, his bark was worse than his bite, and whenever he made a mistake we would dread telling him only to find that because of his compassionate nature he would tell us it didn’t matter and show us only love and support.

Despite his disability he was always game for anything and liked nothing better than a family party, a pint and a pipe. Even at the end he insisted that his great granddaughter Felicity’s second birthday party be held at his house so that he could be a part of it. Never one to make a fuss he waited till all the guests had left before making his exit peacefully with his family at his side.

We would like to thank everyone who has given their support to the family through this difficult time. It has been a great comfort to us all.

We would also like to thank all those BCA members who after Clive’s death sent condolences and those who attended his funeral at St. Margaret’s church on Friday, 17th September 2010.

As the saying goes: “Old fridge engineers never die, they just lose their gas.” Farewell and God bless Clive.

David Hodgkins and family members.

Our chairman, Alec Crombie, sent the following note around the BCA e-mail user group:

How often over the years have I praised the qualities of our BCA Friends....

The death of Clive Hodgkins has diminished us, but has also given us cause for celebration and thanksgiving, as reflected at a most moving funeral service, well attended by our Members.

This is not a formal obituary, more a message of gratitude to the Hodgkins family who have been so central a part of our Association for so many years. The first time I met Clive and Phylis was Haaksbergen 85 when, typically, they went out of their way to give me a lift back to my front door.

Of the many great things two stand out; Clive. You were a Doer and you were a Friend, always willing to go the extra mile. Distinct of voice and warm of heart, you will be remembered in our ranks as long as pieces are pushed!