Obituary for Past President Barry Ash written by his son Lindsay

Barry was born in Chislehurst in 1935 to Ted and Nellie ,his Dad worked in the family business at Creek Rd Deptford which dealt in Tarpaulins and Timber . His formative years like many of the generation were framed by the Second World War where his Dad was away in North Africa and then Italy for much of the time . Although an only child both his parents were from large families so there was plenty of company for him during this time and he remembered seeing dog fights (planes not canines) in the skies over Chelsfield and also remembered the sound of a V1 as it passed over head in Lewisham .

Shortly after the end of the war he went to Askes , where he was fortunate to come under the guidance of Ned Goddard . I was particularly struck by a quote of Mr Goddard’s when asked what subjects he taught ,he replied “I don’t teach subjects ,I teach boys ….I try to teach them to think” . My Dad described his time at Aske’s as undistinguished although he was there at a golden time for Old Askean rugby legends with Des Kirby,Chas Wickens and Alan Hunt which perhaps explained his passion for watching rugby at Kidbrooke and The Rectory Field .

He must though have learnt “to think” as on leaving he qualified as a Chartered Accountant and then served his National service in the Royal Army Pay Corps as a Second Liutenant . He told me that he nearly killed someone during his time in the Army unfortunately it was a British Officer who when inspecting the rifles hadn’t realised my dad had left a bullet in the chamber and nearly took the chaps head off! His most memorable moments other than that was taking place in two parades ,one was led by Field Marshall Earl Alexander of Tunis and the other the final parade in the British Army to be taken by Major General O P J Rooney (Old Askean)

Shortly after leaving the Army he became involved in the Old Askean Club , he remembered how when writing in the magazine when he became President of the Association…

“I sat down on a spare seat and tried to look relaxed ,after a brief period a message was passed down “Who are you “ I was beginning to wonder myself but I passed the message back . A the end of the meeting Mr Goddard bounded up and greeted me like a long lost friend as did Cliff Hall the then Hon Secretary ….now I know I am a person of exceptional charm and decency but I was a bit bemused ….three to four weeks later  all was revealed …I was the new Hon Sec of the Old Askean Club ,soon to become the Social Secretary and for a brief period Secretary of the Old Askean Sports Club.

It was to remain a large part of his life right up until he died . I myself virtually grew up at Kidbrooke in the 60s and 70s watching the likes of Graham Smith, Charlie Wickens and Steve Dunmore strutting their stuff on the pitch prepared by Charlie Toms . In the summer while my Dad played Tennis I used to stroll round and watch the cricketers in action , it was only in later years that I realised why they liked me so much . During one of my early forays they kindly taught me how to keep score hence whenever this smiling 10 year old appeared he was greeted with much relief and invited to join them and was immediately presented with a score book and pencil! In fairness they always brought me tea although those that remember the Old Askean cricket teas may feel that was a dubious kindness! It was nice in later years for me to play both Rugby and Cricket at Kidbrooke , in fact I also played Tennis for them as well ….Dad felt it may have made me possibly the only person to have represented the Club in all three sports, there’s a trivia question for you.

Barry though played Tennis for the Old Askeans for a fair few years along with George Martin and his regular partner in the team Alan Sainty . Now he had an unusual style employing a double handed backhand when they were pretty much unheard of and also had a strange bowling service action . The two handed backhand went on to be adapted by most players so he could be said to have been a pioneer, the bowling serve though remained very much his preserve ! His partner Alan Sainty also had a peculiar style but together they formed a very good pairing as they were both very quick round the court and very adept at lobbing . This meant that some opposition became very frustrated ,one pair asked “Are we going to continue playing like this ,or are we going to play Tennis?”….To which the reply came back “This is the only way we can play” . At the end of the match my Dad and Alan shook hands but when they went to shake hands with the opponents found they had walked off the court!

They were nonetheless a very successful pairing until having been promoted a few leagues they found people who could smash consistently well,and the game was up or to be accurate it could no longer be up .

Barry was a great lover of all sport which he put down to an Uncle who used to take him to various events from Millwall to the Oval . He saw Bradman bat and the great Hungary side with Puskas at Wembley .  He remembered going to Millwall one week and supporting the Lions and the following week they would go to Charlton and support the opposition . This habit reached it’s zenith when he went to the 1947 FA Cup Final ,sat in Jimmy Seed’s seats (then the Charlton manager) and supported Burnley. It came in useful 50 odd years later when a Charlton fan posed a question as to who won the Cup in 1947 , he paused before answering “I may be wrong but I think Charlton won it 1-0 and Duffy got the goal in extra time” ,the chap thought he was a sporting guru . 

In later life he joined Sundridge Park Lawn Tennis and Squash Rackets Club where he served as Secretary and then as Chairman . He also formed a group that played squash doubles every Sunday night followed by what they described as comestibles basically pate , Cheese and French bread with numerous pints of Shepherd Neame and a small bells or a “ball smells” as it became known due to Barry’s love of spoonerisms . In fact most of the participants had nicknames given to them by him ,his was The Patron . 

Another was a chap called Reg Parkes who became Peg but was later elevated to Lord Rarkes . I shall close these few words as I did the Eulogy with the words of his Lordship who wrote to me under the title ….The man who made Sunday Nights fun

“The Patron also chose the teams on the night if you were in the first team you were in the stumblebums ,if you were in the second you were in the elite or thought you were .Sadly all this is now history and will never return following the passing of the Patron Sir Arry Bash or simply Barry Ash who is now in the great court in the sky ….rest in peace Barry”