Max Mills MBE
No doubt many of you will now be aware that Max has been awarded the MBE for services to Education in this New Year’s Honours list.
I have to say that the Award is thoroughly well deserved - to give 51 years dedicated service to education is quite remarkable and although St John Fisher kept trying to make him leave he just kept coming back at the start of every term ! (Only joking Max).
Max finally retired in 2015 but still remains a committed volunteer at the school, dedicating his time to the development of the junior players and running the St John Fisher Table Tennis teams as well as being a valued member of the HTTA committee.
I’ve personally known Max for many years now and like myself I ‘m sure that a great number of HTTA players will have connections with Max, he’s been around so long that it’s impossible not to have played him or seen him attend as a non playing captain!
I was speaking to Dave Archbold earlier this week and he fondly remembers Max as a one the PE teachers who ran the Harrogate & District Football Squad in 1966/67. Dave was at Christ Church School and goalkeeper for Harrogate Schoolboys. I find this remarkable given Dave has only just reached official retirement age. It really does go to show how long Max has been involved in local education.
From my own perspective Max was a teacher at St John Fisher when my wife was a pupil back in the 70’s and then again when all of my four children went through the school. He managed to encourage one of my sons to play – although not in the league, but even at 27 he still likes a game and played at University. It was around the early 2000’s that I actually played with Max at St John Fisher along with Andy Cousins, still playing today for SJF A, and his stepson James Pearce. We played on the balcony overlooking the main sports hall and many a time the ball had to be retrieved from the bemused badminton players looking up from below.
Max was always encouraging pupils to take up the sport and has brought many juniors through from humble starts to becoming excellent players. In the recent past, brother’s Dan and Tom Bouchard and now Sammy and Theo Kelly, what is it about brothers? Dan Bouchard is now at Bristol University and President of their Table Tennis Society - Max’s influence spreading throughout the country.
Playing, coaching and encouraging are only part of what Max does, he really does give up so much of his time for them, acting as a taxi service, being there at weekends to attend tournaments and coaching courses. He’s involved in the North Yorkshire Schools Tournament and of course as mentioned earlier a dedicated HTTA committee member.
It’s people like Max that have helped HTTA to flourish and importantly support and develop the junior players that we see today playing throughout the five divisions. Max just keeps on giving and long may he continue to do so and once again I’m sure you will all join with me in congratulating Max on this well deserved award.
Max, you really are a star.