Since Norman worked at Perkins with me (Chris Russell) I have known him since I first joined the Perkins chess club, back in 1981, I think. He was the chairman of our club even then, having been a Perkins member since the 1960ís. We were then part of the Hunts and Peterborough Chess Association (H&PCA).†
I did not realise that there were links to county and national chess until I started attending our annual Jamboree, which was always hosted by the Perkins Sports Association social club. At that time, the evening was basically an end of season prize-giving ceremony for H&PCA trophies and started with a lecture by a British Chess Federation (BCF) chess IM or GM, followed by trophy presentation and a single rapid-play game to end the evening. The guest speaker was introduced by the H&PCA chairman (then Phil England), but it was not long before Norman replaced him in this task.
Sadly the guest speaker role eventually died once the BCF started charging a fee, rather than just expenses, but I learnt more about what Norman did for the association as I was progressively asked to help represent Perkins club at H&PCA AGMs and ECMs, where I watched him controlling the meetings with quiet skill. The majority of young people give up their extra-curricular activities as they become older, start a family and take on more responsibility at work. But Norman never did. Even when he wanted to take a back seat running the Perkins club, he was ever-present at the H&PCA meetings, and helped run both of the H&PCA and of the Cambridgeshire association (following our merger with South Cambridgeshire) in a number of capacities, most notably as chairman for the past 34 years and therefore also chairman of our disputes committee. Given the fractiousness with which chess players argue the rules, the fact that no one has tried to unseat him in all that time is testament to a great diplomatic ability, which will be hard to replace. Have a good retirement, Norman. We will miss you.
Norman receiving his presentation from Paul Hanks at the recent Jamboree.
Patrick receiving his presentation from Paul Hanks at the recent Jamboree.
A stalwart of the Cambridgeshire County matches Patrick has served the association admirably. He enjoyed a number of successes with the U-150 & U-160 teams winning in 2004 and runners up in 2006 & 2012.