The Importance of Club Archives: Who was Diana Brothers?
Unless you have been a member of Sussex County for more than fifteen years it is probably unlikely you will be able to answer this question, although you may well have played in the GC competition that celebrates her name.
Sussex County Croquet Club has a long and varied history; some of it, much of the early days, is recalled in the club histories which are to be found on this website, by Major Jellicorse, John Eardley-Simpson and Bryan Teague, all three members of the club at different eras.
We have a club archivist, Ray Hall, and he is taking advantage of the refurbishment of the 'old office' (the equipment room of the left of the canteen building - the habitual name refers to its old use) where the paper archives were kept, to document and index what is available. The quick look I had the other day suggested there several items of interest, including a ledger of past competitions from the 1930's and some rare croquet books.
On this website you can find the winners of virtually every official tournament and competition going back to the first decade of the twentieth century, and all the recent club and open competitions as well, including the one day events. There is also a page of club trophies (which is about to be revised) and this contains some biographical details relating to the donors, courtesy of our Archivist Ray Hall. We aim to increase the amount of this sort of information, to give members and website visitors a better sense of the history of this club.
So what about Diana Brothers? Here is some of Ray Hall's research to date:
Diana Elizabeth Brothers 1927 – 2007
Diana's father, Edward James Tucker, had followed his own father in becoming a solicitor. He married Isabel Cook in Brentford, where Diana was born on 8 August 1927, and by 1939 the family had moved to Woking. In December1950 Diana married Brian Peter Brothers in nearby Pyrford, NW Surrey. They settled in West Sussex where two sons were born, with one son and a daughter born in Oxford. Records indicate that Brian married again in 1974.
Diana seems to have moved around somewhat. Her father retired to Eastbourne adjacent to the Compton Club which may be where she got to know croquet? In her later years Diana had several different addresses in Rottingdean, Shoreham and Southwick: she spent her last years at 48 St Julian's Lane, where she died on 10 March 2007.
By the late 1980s she had been a member of SCCC for some time and was Club Secretary. In 2004 the following citation was recorded as she was awarded a Croquet Association Diploma.
Quite apart from Diana's generous backing when the club was in dire financial straits, there seems to be no aspect of the Southwick club that she has not been heavily involved with at one time or another. Recruitment, coaching, lawn maintenance, building maintenance, catering, accounting, club secretary - you name it, Diana has done it, and earned the award of the CA Diploma many times over.
Diana was also Membership Secretary for a number of years and was a prolific letter-writer to the CA Gazette, advertising events and generally publicising what the club had to offer visitors.
The Gazette published the following obituary following her death:
Sussex County Croquet Club has lost one of its most stalwart members following the sudden death of Diana on the 10th March 2007. It was entirely unexpected by members since she had taken part in several of the winter activities, including the Winter Working Party on Tuesday mornings and social events such as Sunday luncheons, Scrabble and Bridge. She had recently organised an afternoon of Scrabble and set up a duplicate bridge tournament for the week after she died.
She had been a member of Sussex County for 20 years having previously played at Rottingdean where she retained dual membership for some years. She came from a Croquet Family in that both her parents had been very keen members at Compton.
Diana as a player was very determined and competitive, playing for the Club teams and in Tournaments for many years, a particular favourite being the Veterans Championships in which she played at both Southwick and Budleigh.
Within a couple of years of joining the Club she had been elected to the committee and then soon becoming Club Secretary, spending six years in that role and ably taking on far more responsibility than she had expected, with her chairman having to spend much time in London.
At that time she moved from Rottingdean to live very near to the Club, allowing her to keep an ever-watchful eye on the premises and all that went on within, which she did.
ln the early l900’s when the Club was considering selling land to maintain solvency and seeking more capital, she was one of only two takers to take up the offer of purchased life membership. ln spite of life membership, she had in recent years contributed in kind, with several generous gifts including a new large kitchen cooker and much garden furniture.
After six years as Secretary she remained on the committee for five more years, taking on the job of Membership Secretary where she introduced our “New Members’ Package". This allows newcomers an extended time to get to know the game and the Club, before joining. Each year this procedure has been responsible for a maintained level of new members at the start of each season.
Conscious of the need to retain newcomers who were unable to enter the normal range of competitions and to integrate into the Club those members in employment, she organised special competitions at weekends, where she provided teas and a trophy.
She also took on overall supervision ofall aspects of Golf Croquet. This involved two weekly afternoon sessions when six or more lawns were devoted to Golf with over 40 players taking part in organised doubles. She also organised the Club Golf Croquet competitions and league teams to the extent that the numbers involved almost matched those of Association Croquet. She retained this role to the day she died.
She was awarded a well-deserved CA Diploma in 2005 for the tremendous amount of work she had done and continued to do. ln addition to the foregoing, she organised teas for our numerous tournaments by providing home-made products and baking a proliﬁc number of cakes throughout each season. This was particularly onerous at the lnter~Counties Championships.
Although she was a somewhat shy, quiet and reserved lady, if she saw anything going wrong or an action detrimental to the club in any respect she bravely did something about it. She certainly held Croquet and the Club so close to her heart that her contribution was unique and those who knew her will testify to her commitment, kindness and generosity.
Bryan Teague (Club Chairman)
So now you know why we have a competition named in her honour.