Racketball creator dies playing game he loved

PUBLISHED: 10:48 09 January 2009 | UPDATED: 15:58 25 August 2010

CHARACTER: Ian Wright.

CHARACTER: Ian Wright.

THE cherished creator of English racketball died of a heart attack whilst playing in his own tournament.

THE cherished creator of English racketball died of a heart attack whilst playing in his own tournament.

Ian Wright, 74, from Wilmington, died playing at Bexley Lawn Tennis, Squash and Racketball Club (BLTSR), in Parkhurst Road, Bexley Village, last Sunday.

The former RAF serviceman who invented the rules for English racketball was a lifetime member of the club where he was described as "a one off character".

Nick Eagle, one of the club's managers, knew Mr Wright for more than 20 years and was left shaken after having to give him CPR on court.

Mr Eagle, 47, from Barnehurst, said: "Ian was larger than life, he was a one-off.

"He didn't drink or smoke and was always full of energy. Playing these games was his life.

"He said many times that's the way he would like to go - quickly and on court."

Mr Wright found a passion for travel after being stationed around the Suez Canal whilst serving with the RAF.

He appeared in the news before when he climbed Mount Vesuvius but had to run down when it erupted.

Last year, he visited Antarctica.

The father-of-two was also secretary of Kent Squash and Racketball Association (KSRA), where he celebrated his 40th year of service last Spring.

Alan Thatcher, KSRA Chair, said: "At the age of 74, Ian was still playing competitive racketball, having been National over-70s champion two years ago.

"He will be sadly missed by his many friends in sport."

Mr Wright leaves behind his wife, Judy, and two adult daughters, Sally and Dee.

His funeral, expected to be held in Hither Green on January 22, is likely to bring hundreds of mourners from around the country.

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