John Hobbs has died

We’re sad to have to let you know that John Hobbs died on Tuesday 6th June 2023 in Pembury Hospital after a shortish illness.

He was born in Beccles, Suffolk in 1932 to a shoe repairer, but managed to get to Oxford University reading Physics.

After this he moved into Operational Research for Metra Consulting and worked for two years in Chile, surviving an earthquake and driving up a volcano that exploded the following day. He also worked in the USA and returned to the UK, eventually becoming Operation Research Manager for Rank Hovis McDougall

Coming back to England in addition to his work he was also Chairman of Governors for Old Palace School in Croydon for a time, then moved to Essex. This is where he found his love of Croquet, then helping set up the Newport Club lawns.

He retired at 55 and looked for a hobby, wood working! He started making mallets and exporting many hundreds of them around the world. He then moved down to Argos Hill and Rotherfield and became a member of the Royal Tunbridge Wells Croquet Club in 1988 and a founder member of the Mayfield Wine Society – he really loved red wine!

The mallets help pay for a lifestyle of international’s travel and wine, traveling to America, Canada, Russia, China, South Africa, Egypt, Europe and returned to Chile to see all the places they couldn’t see with two young kids!

Many of our club members used his mallets, which had a unique mechanism to adjust the orientation of the shaft to suit your grip and swing. Several World Champions used them to win their titles, so he must have done something right! His workshop as you can see was a wonder to behold!!

He was Chairman of the Royal Tunbridge Wells Croquet Club for four years from 2001-4, served on the Committee for 18 years and was made an Honorary Member in 2020 in recognition of his long service for the club.

John Hobbs and Richard Clark presented with their long-service awards

He was an excellent player, winning several external events including the Over-75s in the National Veterans event in 2011. He had retired from playing just four years ago following a stroke.

He was our coach (he qualified on the CA’s first coaching course) and AC referee for many years and all will remember his skills in these, as well as his captaining and managing teams.

He also deployed his wood-working skills on our behalf as can be seen in the accompanying photo.

He was a true gentleman.