Ian Vincent awarded British Empire Medal for Services to Croquet
Ian Vincent, president of Nottingham Croquet Club and long standing member of Croquet England, has been awarded the British Empire Medal for Services to Croquet in the New Year Honours List.
“Ian has contributed so much to the running of the sport of croquet for 50 years. He was Honorary Secretary of Nottingham Croquet Club for 38 years, a member of the Croquet Association’s governing body for 18 years and will be recognised internationally as one of the sports leading referees. This award is well deserved. Congratulations.”
Samir Patel, Chairman of Croquet England
Ian Vincent and his Croquet history
Ian Vincent and Nottingham Croquet Club are synonymous. The club is one of the largest in the UK and Ian joined it in 1977. Just a year later he was elected the Hon. Secretary of Nottingham Croquet Club, serving from 1978 to 2016, an impressive record of 38 years which is unlikely to ever be bettered. He guided successive club Chairmen and Presidents through countless agendas, steered the club through constitutional changes, and developed very useful contacts with local authority officials. Upon his retirement he was invited to be the club’s President, a position he still holds, and he remains the club’s ‘fount of all knowledge’. He has continued to provide advice and support to his two successors Hon. Secs. and he has been involved in, and very supportive of, the club’s drive to bring the game to all of Nottingham’s diverse population through its ‘Croquet for All’ programme.
In addition to his continuous and continuing formal service to the club, Ian was also the club’s lawns manager for very many years, liaising with Council ground staff; he has coached at various levels; he trains and examines referees; he has regularly managed tournaments from beginner’s handicap ones to Championships; he has sorted out security problems; and he even does his turn in the kitchen catering for 20+ hungry croquet players!
”I have known Ian for over 30 years and worked closely with him on the committee at Nottingham and on the Executive of the CA. I can’t think of anyone who has given so much to our sport over such a long period of time or is more deserving of national recognition. Many congratulations Ian.”
Beatrice McGlen, Chief Executive Officer of Croquet England
The National Governing Body for croquet is Croquet England and Ian was elected to its Council (The Croquet Association) in 1998. He served as Chairman from 2003 to 2006 and in 2008 he became the Honorary Secretary of the Croquet Association, being re-elected every year since then. Once again he has seen the organisation through constitutional and governance changes; put together many agendas and reports; written up hundreds of minutes; advised, persuaded, cautioned, placated, cajoled etc. He announced that he would not intend to stand for re-election in October 2021 having completed 13 years as Hon. Sec.
On the international scene, Ian has used his many of years of experience as a referee and examining referee, to guide Croquet England and the World Croquet Federation through 20 years of iterations to the internationally accepted Laws of Association Croquet. He has also been involved in producing the Rules for Golf Croquet since 2015 which evolved into the internationally approved 5th edition of GC Rules in 2018. As a respected Championship referee, Ian has officiated at four World Championships held in England between 2015 and 2019 and he has travelled elsewhere, at his own expense, to officiate at the MacRobertson Shield Test Series between USA, GB, Australia and New Zealand.
All of the above achievements involve the administration of croquet at club, national and international level but Ian’s contribution to the sport does not end there:
Ian Vincent’s first degree was taken at Cambridge in Natural Sciences, and he did his doctorate in theoretical chemistry at Sussex. Affectionately known as ‘The Good Doctor’ he moved on to a career in the Cripps Computing Centre at the University of Nottingham. Using these technology skills to benefit croquet, he created the ‘Nottingham Board’ in the 1990s. This provided a forum and mailing list, long before modern social media platforms, by which croquet players around the world could exchange knowledge (and sometimes a lot of argument!), to the wider benefit of the game. He has maintained it for over twenty five years.
His interest in ICT has been put to good use by the Croquet Association with him serving on and chairing many committees and working groups down the years addressing the needs of an organisation constantly trying to keep up with technological change. At Nottingham Club he has recently been seen with a pick axe, digging a trench so that WiFi can be extended from the pavilion to the far end of the lawns.
With this life-time of voluntary service to the sport it is perhaps surprising that Ian has found time to play but he has done so consistently to a high level, figuring in the top 50 players in the UK since 1982.
In summary, Ian has been an outstanding ambassador for the sport of croquet, both domestically and internationally. He has a self-deprecating and modest style and his diplomacy, understanding and appreciation of everyone’s views has earned respect throughout the croquet playing world. He is, without doubt, worthy of an honour.