Elspeth Johnson

In August 2019 we were sad to have to report the death of our long-standing member Elspeth Johnson. Else had been a member of both the now-defunct East Riding Croquet Club in Hull and the current Beverley & ER CC. Indeed her father, David Anderson, had been instrumental in founding the Hull club. After he died, Else took up the sport, became the club’s secretary and played for many years before worsening disability progressively limited her ability to participate.

However, she continued to support the club, came to all our social events and, as recently as 2018, joined in the croquet party games at our Summer Lunch, valiantly swinging a croquet club from her mobility scooter, with the help of her devoted husband Norman.

Elspeth photo

Elspeth joins in the activities at our 2018 Summer Event


Absolutely cultured

In 2017 Else became a volunteer for the festival that was Hull City of Culture. She made many new friends there. In 2018 she invited a group of them to try out croquet at Rowley Manor. They enjoyed a croquet taster session on the lawns and afternoon tea in the hotel. One of the group, Annie Holmes, enjoyed the afternoon so much that she joined the club and is now one of our most enthusiastic members.

After Else’s death, this group felt they would like to honour the memory of their friend by presenting a new trophy to the croquet club. The Committee of BERCC was approached for suggestions of a suitable competition for the award of a shield. We suggested that it would be an ideal trophy for the recently inaugurated club One-Ball Competition.

The Elspeth Johnson One-ball Trophy

Secretary's Lunch photo

Andrea and Norman with the new shield

Egyptian format

As mentioned above, Else’s father founded the East Riding Croquet Club, in Hull, and this was the way she got into the sport. The club was fortunate in having Bill Lamb as a member and through his position on the Council of the Croquet Association his contacts enabled him to establish a CA Tournament at the club lawns in Costello Park. The event was managed for many years by Ian Maugham, whose son David progressed to be one of the best international players, featuring in the World Croquet Federation’s Hall of Fame. Ian’s legacy is still remembered in a number of trophies bearing his name in different events in the UK.

While managing the tournament Ian used a method known widely as the ‘Egyptian’ system. The format was introduced at Cheltenham in 1987 by Paul Hands allegedly deriving the name from the fact it had taken him a ‘Phar-oah-time’ to work out. Whatever the truth the name ‘Egyptian’ has remained in use.

Else played regularly in the tournament and was generous in providing Ian with board and lodging for many years.

Between 1987 and 2001 that competition was frequently won by players who are current or recent members of the Beverley club, including Alan Locket (four times), Derek Knight (twice), Jim Gillespie and Colin Fletcher.

Else was secretary to the East Riding Club throughout this period and a regular player in internal club competitions and league matches. Because of this background it seems appropriate to run the One-ball Trophy in an ‘Egyptian’ format. Else had a passion for dressing up, so, although not required, competitors who wish to appear with Egyptian styled attire will be most welcome.

The format will be fully explained elsewhere but it is very flexible and will allow players to play for part of the day, or to have rest periods as they wish. This should give all club members a chance to participate, even if they only wish to play one game and watch others battle.

The presentation

  • Secretary's Lunch photo

  • Secretary's Lunch photo

  • Secretary's Lunch photo

  • Secretary's Lunch photo

  • Secretary's Lunch photo

  • Secretary's Lunch photo