Tributes paid to Banbury man with life-long passion for local sport

"Archie leaves a huge legacy – sport, and tennis particularly ran through his veins as did the club.

Tuesday, 30th March 2021, 5:48 pm
Tributes are being paid to - Arthur 'Archie' Buzzard - a well-known figure in local Banbury sport community who has died. (photo from the Buzzard family)

Arthur William Barnard Buzzard (known to family and friends as Archie), aged 86, died suddenly at the John Radcliffe Hospital on Tuesday March 9.

Archie lived his whole life in Springfield Avenue. He was born on September 4, 1934, the eldest child of Mark and Hilda and grew up at Buzzard's shop in Easington with his brothers Rob, Pete and Colin.

The family had strong connections with the Methodist chapel at Easington, regularly attending worship and Sunday school. Archie was a great believer of all that the chapel stood for and was true to his faith, supporting the local community through dedicated service. He was actively involved as treasurer and found all sorts of ways to raise money. His house was known as the place to drop off clothes, jumble and cans, which would eventually be transformed into funds for the chapel.

Archie attended Dashwood Road school before moving up to the Banbury Grammar school.

Early in life he developed an interest in sports both local and national and would often travel down to London to watch cup finals and test matches.

His first and only job was at the Northern Aluminium Company, also known as Alcan, where he worked in the accounts department until he retired. During that time he played an active part in the company's social and sporting activities, helping to set up the Badminton Club at Grimsbury and latterly organising holiday and social events with the 30 year club.

He married Maureen in 1957. They were married nearly 40 years when she sadly died in 1996. They have two children: a son, Ian and a daughter, Julie. They have five grandchildren who include Emma, Jack, Thomas, Sam and James. He also has a great-granddaughter, Remy.

His funeral will be held at the Banbury Crematorium with a family only service on Tuesday April 6.

Archie's life long passion was sport.

As an all rounder, he played football, cricket and hockey for Alcan, but he will be best remembered for his commitment and legacy to Banbury Tennis.

When Banbury Town council became the owners of the Horton View sports ground, Archie formed a tennis club with himself and his brother Pete becoming the first members in 1973.

After his retirement Archie qualified as a tennis coach, keen to encourage and instil a love of sport. As well as Banbury Tennis club youngsters he also coached players at Bloxham school, and visited local villages with the Cherwell Sports Roadshow.

The Banbury Tennis Club posted a tribute online in memory of Archie and his service to tennis in town.

The tribute, posted by club committee member Penny Simpson, said: "The Banbury Tennis Club has sadly lost a highly respected long standing club member known to many past and present members, who was a co-founder of the club back in 1973.

"He was chairman of the club for a number of years, and continued to be involved in the running of the club, as well as being the main club contact for many years. Initially shale courts, these required sweeping with ‘mats,’ usually by Archie after the evenings play.

"Archie played tennis, football, cricket and hockey all at the Horton View Sports Ground. He arranged friendly tennis matches with local and county clubs until the club joined the Oxfordshire leagues. Archie was a competent steady player, usually within teams in the middle leagues.

"Volunteering more of his time, he was very active with junior coaching. He arranged junior matches within age groups, insisting the juniors had their allotted court time in the evenings.

"The club made Archie a life member in 1999 to recognise his huge contribution to the club.

"Later in his playing life, Archie joined in with the popular ‘retired and redundant’ Tuesday afternoon sessions. When he hung up his racket just a few years ago, he still kept in social contact with the club. Players were used to seeing him cycle round from his nearby home, and continuing to collect the old used tennis balls and tins for his local church funds (an early recycler).

"Archie leaves a huge legacy – sport, and tennis particularly ran through his veins as did the club.

"His passion for his sport and club showed throughout. He is remembered fondly by many past and present club members, many of whom started their playing life with Archie, and still continue to proudly say that he coached them, passing on his passion for the game of tennis.

"Archie – you will be remembered as an all-round good guy! A true gentleman on and off court."

Archie also enjoyed hockey and spent many years umpiring for the Banbury ladies hockey team and in recognition for his dedicated support was later made a vice president of Banbury Hockey club.

When his playing days were over he remained an active supporter. It was a familiar sight to see him arrive on his bike to cheer on Banbury United and he enjoyed watching local cricket, rugby and hockey matches whenever he could.

The Banbury United Football Club also posted a tribute on its website. The tribute said: "The club were saddened to learn of the passing of long-term supporter Archie Buzzard.

"He was a regular at the ground, usually arriving at the 'Town End' on his bike, often having watched the hockey club play earlier in the day.

"Archie was a kind and generous man who gave his time for others, and typically not long before his passing he contributed to the club’s fundraiser for Barry Pocock.

"Our condolences go to Archie’s family."