Surprise party for Exmouth table tennis man

A SPORT fanatic was given a surprise party to mark his retirement from coaching table tennis in Exmouth.

Brian Worts, 75, of Danby Terrace, received a warm send-off from more than 60 people who attended the event held at Exmouth Football Club last Friday, October 22.

The former town councillor has retired from Exe Table Tennis Club and coaching after an association with the sport spanning more than 45 years.

Mark Tregale, from Exe Table Tennis, said: “Brian was definitely blown away with the scale of the evening.

He added: “He will be sorely missed from the Exe TT Club but he has left a lasting legacy - a true local table tennis legend.”

Mr Worts, who received an award this year from Active Devon for outstanding contribution to sport in Devon, started coaching in the 1960s at the Convent School, and both Littleham Junior and Exeter Road schools.

A number of players he trained from the 60s and 70s attended the surprise party as well as his relatives and dignataries including Joy Whipps, Exmouth’s former mayor.

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Mrs Whipps read out a letter on behalf of the town council thanking Brian for his commitment to table tennis, particularly with juniors and schools.

People travelled from as far as London and Kent to wish him all the best.

Chris Brown, English Table Tennis Association’s regional development manager, presented him with the Maurice Goldstein award for dedicated service to the sport.

He was handed a shield, glass table tennis bat and a signed photo and message from Premiership footballer John Terry – who plays for the club Brian supports.

Adding to his stack of gifts, he was also presented with a life-size caricature of himself.

Mr Worts is well-known in the town not just for his involvement with the Exe Table Tennis Club and from his time as a councillor.

He has also worked at Exmouth Pavilion and once manned the bar at Exmouth Town Football Club.

Among his finest achievements, Mr Worts coached many local children to compete in national competitions – some of whom achieved good success.

Most recently, he has run Exe Table Tennis Club at Exmouth Community College which has support from youngsters as young as nine through to adults in their sixties.