Dave Gilbert: obituary and funeral arrangements

Published 05/02/2016 at 10:54:24 by Chris Welch; edited 2 times, last on 05/02/2016 at 10:56:02 by Chris Welch.

Submitted by Michael Wilkins.

My father in law and former Milton Keynes premier Division player Dave Gilbert died on Friday 22 January at the age of 82. Dave moved to Leighton Buzzard from Hemel Hempstead in 1970. While in Hemel Hempstead he played in the Hertfordshire County Senior and had his own table tennis column in one of the Hemel local papers. They called him the man with the golden bat, having moved from Surrey where he also played for the County. He was one of the best players in the Hertfordshire area. While playing for Surrey he befriended Connie Warren and Ken Baker who were both still teenagers and would take them to Tournaments all over the Country. Connie eventually became good enough to play for England at the same time as Chester Barnes and Denis Neale and Ken became Surrey number 1.

Dave also liked to run Tournaments himself in his Surrey days, mostly at the Wimbledon YMCA, where England internationals would regularly turn up.  Dave worked away a lot and would always take his bat with him.  Wherever he was he would try and find the local YMCA where there was always a chance to get a knock.  On one occasion in the 60s while he was working in Birmingham, he called into the YMCA and a very young Des Douglas came up to him and said any chance of a knock Mr Gilbert.  Dave's best TT years where the late 50s and 60s when he would have been seeded in the English closed tournament.  One year he knocked out Harry Venner, who was a professional, and in the doubles knocked out the number 1 seeds in the first round.

By the time he reached MK he was already past his best, but would have still been a very good player locally.  I think he still played County Seniors for Bedfordshire at that time.  I met him in 1983 when he was 50 and when I started playing again in 1988 I got him to play with myself and Ivan Brown.

I remember one year when we had just got promotion to the Premier Division.  Myself and Ivan practised all summer ready for the new season. We thought we were playing brilliantly. One week before the season started Dave turned up for his first practice and easily thrashed us.

His Funeral will be next Tues 9th Feb at 3.30pm at the Oak Chapel, Crownhill Crematorium, Milton Keynes and afterwards for light refreshments at the Pavilion, Campbell Park, Milton Keynes.