Frank Gunstone dies

We’re sad to have to report that Frank died in his sleep at home earlier this week.

Richard Clark writes: “With the passing of Frank at the age of 86 this November, the Croquet Club has lost not just a valued longstanding member but a great friend, stalwart champion and ambassador.

As a young man Frank embarked on a successful career in aeronautical engineering, proudly working his way through the ranks learning on the job.  The Space Age promise of the 1950’s and 60’s brought fresh excitement to the aviation world while Concorde lifted its horizons and ambitions.  Frank was involved with the development of  and application of relays and their supply to the industry.   Sadly the excitement abated, Frank’s firm was bought out by an American company and later closed, leaving him to start a second career.

He and Carolyn moved to Crowborough and purchased Warren Drive which they developed and ran as a Care Home with a fine reputation which owed everything to their commitment and enlightened approach.   Carolyn’s nursing experience supplemented by Frank’s natural sociability and sense of humour ensured success. They were renowned for the touches such as their residents’  bar designed to help give a homely, but active backdrop to the declining years of their residents; at the time still a somewhat  pioneering approach.

Frank’s first love was sailing.  From his Club on the Thames He became a very proficient exponent of the art, making it to Olympic Trials.  His love of sea, sail and surf never left him and in more recent years, in addition to a sailing excursion to the Isle of Wight with some other members  he revelled in the luxury of tall-masted sea cruising in the Adriatic and Caribbean.

Like many of us, he came to Croquet late.  Introduced to the Club in about 2002 he was a stalwart supporter through a major phase of development.  Never a lover of Committees, he was a practical pair of hands in support.  He championed the cause of Golf Croquet at a time when it was undervalued by those skilled at Association and he will be particularly remembered for the charm with which he coordinated Wednesday Club afternoons, skilfully balancing playing groups and joining them to gently steer them to improvement.  No lingering spectator at the gate was safe from Frank’s explanations of the game and invitation to sample.  A mean player himself, his hoop running was spectacular at times, and he brought a keen competitiveness to the lawn.  He loved nothing more than a keenly fought match.  He lit up our social occasions where his conviviality and love of life came to the fore.

As a friend and as a RTWCC fellow member he will be missed.”

Our thoughts are with Carolyn and his family at this time.