Len Hoffman, Essex Life Time Achievement Award

Len (seated) surrounded by players ready for the presentation

Len (seated) surrounded by players ready for the presentation

On April 5th 2014, a packed Saturday morning @ the Mossford Table Tennis Club, Junior Section’s Meeting, at the Palmer Academy, saw the Essex County Table Tennis Association present Mossford’s legendary Len Hoffman with a Life Time Achievement Award.

There to join Len in his celebrations, were former International ranked Juniors and Seniors who Len coached: the Juniors of the impressive Mossford TTC; the Officials and helpers of the Mossford Table Tennis Club.

Len’s former pupils included Stuart Gibbs (former England No. 2 at Junior and Senior Levels and Vets No 1: Stuart reaching the last 16 of the World Men’s Singles), Skylet Andrew (former England Junior and Senior No 1; Skylet a Commonwealth Men’s Doubles winner)) and former Junior Internationals: Alex Abbott, Maxine Abbott and Leon Smith.

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Hosting the Presentation were Mossford stalwarts David Humble and John Spero, together with key Mossford members: Phil Ashleigh, Tony Cantale and 18 year old Josh Dye.

From the Essex Committee were Essex President Stuart Gibbs, Essex General Secretary Jayne Johnson and myself.

Jayne and I arrived at 10.15 and the Hall was full of activity. The Mossford youngsters were all playing. Stuart, Skylet, Alex, Maxine and Leon were all knocking with the youngsters: a great atmosphere.

The Mossford Coaching Team, were all coaching and in the middle, was Len Hoffman, running a contest for the children, oblivious to what was about to happen.

With the Interval looming, David Humble called for everyone to gather around the area where Len was sitting. Dave introduced myself with some very nice words and I said some fitting words for the Lifetime of devotion to Junior coaching of Len, spanning an amazing 65 years.

I commented on Len’s Lifetime of Coaching and the high standards that those present today had reached: from Len’s early days with Chester Barnes and Stuart Gibbs, to the next generation of Skylet Andrew, Alex and Maxine Abbott, Shelley Ruocco and Grant Solder and many, many more. In his younger days, Len also coached Football and coached Harry Rednapp and Frank Lampard senior. Much of this information came from an article that Mossford’s John Spero had written for a Presentation last year that the Mossford Table Tennis Club made to Len: an amazing lifetime commitment to the enjoyment and skills of so many young people.

A nicely engraved Glass Tankard on a nice stand was presented to Len by Stuart Gibbs. Stuart added his appreciation: giving us all an insight into the fun times they all had as youngsters learning Table Tennis with Len and how much enjoyment they have all had throughout their lives. For many, success at the highest level: all emanating back to the early efforts of Len in creating a lasting interest in Table Tennis. Len as always was totally modest, accepting his Award with a warmth that everyone loved and eager to get back to the Tournament he was running during the Mossford Morning session

Stuart then passed the floor over to Skylet Andrew to heap more praise on Len. Skylet delivered a most exhilarating chat; joining Stuart in attributing much of his success in life, to those early days with Len. Skylet had the youngsters laughing as he recalled some of his young experiences. Skylet then went on to say how table tennis had played a major part in equipping him for the successful career he has had so far, attributing much of this to Len Hoffman.

After, Skylet joined the children and gave them some lessons on serving with his legendary high ball throwing: Skylet had the youngsters laughing, given them high fives once they had mastered his serves, with his help. He had the total attention of everyone; the sheer enjoyment was clear on all the youngsters’ faces.

Our thanks to the very successful organisers of the Mossford Table Tennis Club

And our thanks to Len Hoffman, the likes of which may never be seen again: an amazing Life Time Commitment to the enjoyment of youngsters: possibly thousands.

Ken Field
Chairman
Essex County Table Tennis Association
14th May 2014

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