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Dedication to Jack Gillett

Memories from the Past

The website has allowed us to interact with the community in a way that was impossible just a few years ago. This interaction has allowed some members and ex-members with memories of Bexley Fencing Club to get in touch and share those memories with us.

We are always looking for information about the club, so if you know anything or can add anything to other recollections, then please get in touch with us. Our club email address is: [email protected]

"I joined, as a foilist, after I left school in about January 1965 and was a member until about 1970 when I moved to Surrey. We fenced in a hall just down Brampton Rd on the left at the old fire station. I was a member of the Southampton University Club as well from Oct 1965 to July 1967 and of other clubs from later in 1967 including Salle Boston and West Wickham but Bexley was my 1st choice Kent club.

“As a club member I won the Kent Foil and Epee Championship in 1968 (having been 3rd in 1967 at foil) and the Wickford Foil and Southend-on-Sea Steam Foil (having been 3rd and 2nd respectively in 1967).

“I fenced for Kent at the Excalibur Trophy in 1967 at foil and had the distinction of being the only fencer to beat Bill Hoskyns that weekend, which was a week after he had won the British Epee Championship.

My first epee result of note was 3rd in the Cyrano (Southend) competition in 1967.

“I took lessons at Bexley from Prof Leon Bertrand, at foil, and I remember always being petrified during the lessons. He gave lessons mixing up French, Italian and English, which were very difficult to understand. I would get the required movement wrong a number of times and he would repeat the incomprehensible instructions in an ever louder voice, even shouting. I may have eventually done the phrase right more by accident than design as I didn’t really know what I was supposed to be doing but because of the nerves and lack of understanding then do it wrong again and receive yet more tirades so I felt like a shaking wreck.

“However, though not for me, he was a top rate coach and taught many of Britain’s best fencers at his own Salle and then The London Fencing Club for a great many years. While I was at Bexley Vic Lagnado, who was the leading foil coach at Salle Paul, used to come to Bexley to take lessons from Bertrand.

“Before I joined, Ian Single was a schoolboy foil fencer at Bexley Fencing Club, later he joined Salle Paul and fenced for GB in a number of World Championships and the 1972 Olympics.

“While at the club I received a lot of help and encouragement from Stan Allen who was club chairman and Kent captain. I really appreciated him as he pushed my cause for recognition by various selectors. I did enjoy fencing at the club and it did help me in my immediate post-school years.

“I made my mark primarily at epee and I went on to reach a number of British finals, finishing 3rd three times (one after a 3-way barrage), winning the British Open, gaining 2 gold and 1 silver team medals for England in the Commonwealth Champs in 1978, 1982 and 1994 and representing GB in the World Champs for the first time in 1995 at the age of 49 after many years of trying and just missing selection.

I believe I was and still am the oldest first time British fencing international, certainly in the “modern” era. At veterans level I have won the overall British Epee title 5 times and recently was 2nd in a very strong record sized field of 60 Epeeists and 1st in my age group, over 60, by a large margin. I won the European Vets in 1997 and was 3rd in the World Vets in 1998 and 1999 and 6th last year.

I won the World Veterans Epee Championship for Over 60s 4 weeks ago in Sydney"    Robin Davenport.