Tragedy has touched the close-knit Lithgow Table Tennis Association for the second time this year with the recent death of popular member Roy Barlow in a canyoning accident.
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This comes after top player Michael Wood passed away in January following a short illness.
Roy Barlow was the quintessential 'good bloke'.
Nothing was ever too hard or too much trouble, and it was rare for him not to have a smile on his face.
Roy had a passion for life and the mysteries it hid and the challenges it set.
He did his best to find them and overcome them, and probably squeezed three lifetimes of experiences into one in the process.
Having joined the Association in mid-2012, from the very beginning Roy was its friendliest and most enthusiastic member.
He enjoyed the game of table tennis and the fun, fitness, and friendship it provided.
New and inexperienced players were more often than not welcomed firstly into the club by Roy, who made it his personal mission to help them improve their skills.
During competition, he cheered everyone on, especially the less-talented players, and often drew the ire, albeit good-natured, of his teammates when he barracked for the opposition.
As an addition to the Wednesday night competition, Roy started up a Monday night round-robin event, giving players an opportunity to hone their games in a less competitive environment.
In his time at the club, Roy held many positions, including Vice-President and Competition Handicapper, and he was the current Treasurer. Most nights he was the first to arrive to open the Hall and the last to leave.
He was very active in promoting the club and the sport of table tennis in general. He ran the Association Facebook page, made up flyers for notice boards and offered old tables to various schools in an effort to stir up interest.
Roy was also the self-appointed 'Mr Fixit', repairing lights and other minor faults in the Hall.
He completed a course to become the COVID-19 Safety Officer, setting up hand-sanitiser stations and organising disinfectants and cleaning equipment to sanitise the tables and floors after play.
Without his efforts in this area, the Association would not have been able to return to play as quickly as it did.
Away from the tables, Roy brought together a small group of players who regularly had meals and nights-out.
Usually the meals were at Roy's house, with Roy cooking, and where he also welcomed overseas travellers as boarders.
He enjoyed cycling, bushwalking and canyoning, as well as numerous other 'adventure' sports, making table tennis probably his most staid pursuit.
The Association has initiated plans to name two perpetual awards in honour of both Roy Barlow and Michael Wood.
A Player's Player Award, voted on by the members, will bear Roy's name. Michael Wood will be remembered with an Award for the Player with the Highest Win Percentage over the year.
Roy Barlow will be sorely missed and always remembered by everyone who knew him, and especially his Lithgow Table Tennis family.
Contributed using information from several LTTA members.
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