Letter from Colin Wilkinson
I thought you would like to read this letter sent from Colin Wilkinson an ex member of our club.
I decided to take you up on the invitation to contact you and the club! I am an old member of Parkstone chess club, Poole in Dorset, I played in the 1980’s and was the ‘Head of the library’ of some fifty books. I played alongside Margret Bright wife of Melvyn Bright accountants Parkstone, old Mr Marples, who was rather eccentric. His attire was always a red corduroy suit with short trousers. Due to the amount of content, the cotton trouser pockets would hang out under the end of the trousers being visible on his legs. Further Mr Billingham an old WW2 hero who incidentally helped capture Arnhem in the Netherlands taking part in ‘Market Garden’, then moving on in the direction of Russia through Germany at the end of the war. A fine fellow and good friend who lived close by to me at 48 Cranbrook road.
We had many a good evening playing chess, unfortunately I was relatively inexperienced and only managed to reach a level of Elo 115 in the years I played at the club, never the less a good time to look back on when I was 25. I am now 65 and live in Holland in the city Enschede in the east close to the German border.
My main task as club member was chasing up the books which were overdue (besides playing chess). It was always very frustrating as promises were made but often broken and a fine for late books was not really option with a small but loyal membership!
I played quite a number (for me) of chess games in the years of my membership, unfortunately Margret Bright always use to beat me as she seemed to have nerves of steel, I was quite the opposite, as in a chess match I played in Rouen, I lost miserably but never the less had a memorable time. My company on that voyage was ‘Stephen Carpenter’ who was a top player in our club at the time and proud owner of a Fidelity chess challenger, which was fascinating. On my return from France I continued to play club and county matches and suddenly started to achieve succes! Unfortunately due to family and work problems I travelled abroad with my work to The Netherlands and further to South Africa. At that time Nelson Mandela became free, there was political instability. Still being interested in chess I played as much as I could but not really at a club level. I remember on my travels I made a a chess set from white cardboard, sealed it in plastic and gave it to some young men in Soweto. (I worked as manager at a book distribution center at Isando, Johannesburg) as it was almost impossible for the young men to buy a chess set. Further when I left Parkstone chess club I donated all my chess books some 20 plus to the library in the hope it might encourage new members to study chess, but also to bring them back!
Colin Wilkinson. Enschede 01st March 2020
It’s a really nice reminder of the history and legacy we all have at Poole.
March 1, 2020