Alan officiating at Hurlingham (Photo: Tim King)by Quiller Barrett
Alan Oldham, Vice President of the CA, died suddenly but peacefully on Friday 28th April. He will be remembered for the very big contribution he made to croquet - and for being a true gentleman.
He passed away quickly at his desk at home, probably due to a previously unknown heart problem.
The funeral details are a long way from being finalised; but his widow, Jane, believes his wishes would be for a family funeral and then a later memorial service.
Stephen Mulliner adds:
Alan died on Friday, 28 April 2006, not long after returning from an energetic trip to see a solar eclipse in Egypt. He deserves the gratitude of all croquet players for his many services to Croquet over several decades. He loved the game and is certainly entitled to be described as one of the CA's greatest ever supporters and workers.
His most significant contribution was to serve as Honorary Treasurer of the Croquet Association for 25 years during which time he spent a significant proportion of each week looking after the CA's financial affairs for no payment other than the reimbursement of his postage stamps. The true scale of what Alan had done for the CA only became apparent in 1992 when he handed over to Roger Bray who was to receive a modest honorarium for his work. The predictable eyebrow-raising at such apparent generosity provided an opportunity to set the record straight and let a much wider body of Associates know just how much work was involved in keeping the books of a body like the CA in such good order that even the VAT man could rarely find anything to quibble about.
Alan was also the CA's Archivist with a truly encyclopaedic knowledge of the game's history. But he played another important role as well - enthusiastically turning up as the CA's official representative at all sorts of events up and down the country. He was a member of the CA Council for over 40 years and, as befitted the intellect of a former Chief Actuary of Equity and Law, could always be relied upon for sound arguments on any conceivable subject that came up for debate. Alan liked things to be done correctly and was the invariable source of advice on procedure and protocol.
He was the most affable of men and could be said to display the all virtues of Lord Doneraile without any of the personality defects of that noble Lord. The following passage about Doneraile from Prichard makes for a fitting tribute to a much-loved croquet colleague:
"A tireless hater of all things slack or irregular, his standards were ever of the strictest. He had many sides and a variety of interests but his devotion to croquet predominated and led him to serve it with energy and ability for the best part of his life."