I learnt a little earlier today of the sad loss of stalwart organiser, Joe French.
Joe had been putting his heart and soul into junior chess in Basingstoke and Hampshire since I was a kid, and it is partly his influence that makes me coach the way I do today. Joe's strengths were his tireless energy, his enthusiasm for the game, and his inspiration to the kids who he brought through his ranks. Chess, like all pastimes, needs people who are willing to devote themselves to their passion, and Joe did this spending masses of time organising Saturday morning Junior chess clubs, and helping to run the Basingstoke Chess Club.
After I left Basingstoke, Joe extended his efforts to include Junior Chess administration throughout Hampshire and finally won the ECF President's Award in 2004 for services to chess.
I was lucky enough to meet up with him briefly when I visited Basingstoke in 2012, but I have no photos of Joe, just memories. Since that time when I wrote about my visit to the club, Basingstoke Chess Club have a new website. There is more information about Joe French, including a photo, on the club forum.