100 Years of Age – Gordon Boot

Old Scardeburgian Gordon Boot celebrated his 100th birthday on Wednesday with presents, and cards from the Prep School children and a letter from Her Majesty the Queen.

His family organised a party for him; visitors  who were scheduled throughout the day – included his family, the gardeners and a street party attended by neighbours. He came out on his scooter to a huge round of applause and cheer from everyone. He spent time chatting at a distance and opening more cards and presents. Everyone sang happy birthday t and toasted him on his achievement.

The family thanked the school for the gifts sent to Gordon, he was overjoyed. They added that the cards from the children were so thoughtful too. Despite the poor weather it was a lovely day. It was the most he has smiled in such a long time, and the first time he has seen  Mark (his grandson) & partner Lucy and  great grand daughter Annabel since March 1st due to the pandemic.

We also thank the Sheffield and District Lawn Tennis Association who published an excellent article on Gordon’s life – extracts are detailed below.

“Born in Sheffield on June 10th 1920, his early years were spent in France and then Eastbourne before moving back to Totley and his first tennis memories. “

“He  boarded  at Scarborough College where football, cricket, tennis, rugby, hockey (playing for Yorkshire Schoolboys), fives, and athletics were a priority, this multi-sport involvement perhaps preparing him for his later role with The Abbeydale Sports Club.”

“Aged sixteen he joined the family business, Charles Constantine Ltd, builders merchants, After living in Bromley, Kent, for a couple of years, helping run a new company venture there, WWII was declared and Gordon, along with his brother Kenneth, being Territorial reservists, reported to the 5th Royal West Kent Regiment. Gordon’s brief involvement with the  BEF in Belgium ended with an escape from Dunkirk in a naval vessel, the first of what he regards as quite a few ‘lucky’ moments in his five year war, his own jeep vacating a spot taken immediately by an exploding shell, another landing in an adjacent haystack which stopped it exploding, his jeep being run over by a friendly tank, and his CO, with whom he spent a lot of time, being killed by landmine. His brother too died that way. His war took in Egypt (El Alamein), Iraq, Italy (Brindisi, Monte Casino, Pedemonte, Rome, Florence, Naples) and thence to Vienna to guard the palaces. He has a bunch of medals to remind him of his long service.”

“Married on his return in 1945 and subsequently the father of three daughters, he worked once more for Constantine’s. Gordon dived into his sports again playing over the years hockey, badminton, squash and tennis (he won the club mixed doubles in 1987).  He then took the position of ‘Secretary and General Manager’ of the Abbeydale club. In his time there he oversaw the creation of a second hockey pitch, the installation of an air hall for multi sports, another to cover two of the newly carpeted tennis courts, and numerous improvements to the main Abbeydale buildings including an extension to the lounge area and new changing rooms. He retired from the club in 1985. As President of the tennis section he ran a Biostrath tournament for the LTA, Stanley Matthews Jr being one entrant.”

“He has, in his time, taken his own boat into the Mediterranean and around North Africa and competed in car rallying including the Scottish RAC. In latter years he took to computing and handicrafts as hobbies.”

We are delighted to recognise this marvellous achievement and thank the family for the photographs and information. We are sorry he could not visit us as he had planned three years on from his last visit in 2017.

We look forward to welcoming Gordon back to College as soon as it is convenient for him to visit.