Due to a significant back problem, Lawrie Neville has decided that at the age of 84, he should retire from competitive table tennis. What could have been a sad occasion at The Warehouse Centre became instead a celebration of Lawrie's long career in the sport. Lawrie started playing table tennis in 1947 after being called up to serve in Gibraltar. His first job after service life was in London, where he played in the London leagues. When he took a more local job, he started playing in the Southend league (in 1964), and also played in the Chelmsford league. In the Southend league Lawrie has played for several clubs , including St Peters and Runnymede, the latter of which he helped to set up. For several years he also helped to run SETTS at Basildon. Over the years he has coached, encouraged and advised many generations of aspiring table tennis players, including advice on appropriate bats and rubbers.In the past few years he has been a regular player and adviser at the Warehouse Centre, and he will still be coming along to give league and social players some assistance.
Amongst many people to see Lawrie's last match were Ken Field (Southend League chairman), and Keith Neville (Lawrie's son), one of whose Castle Poin's teams formed the opposition for this match. Keith's own team (Castle Point A) have every chance of winning promotion for a second successive season, and ensuring that the Neville name will continue for another generation on the local table tennis scene.
So it was against this background that Lawrie received a card and a sustained round of applause,with many heartfelt thanks for what he has done for table tennis and for individuals over many years.