Born in Barry on 6th May 1935, George started playing table tennis when he joined his local YMCA at the age of 10. At 15, he won both the Barry junior and senior tournaments on the same day, as well as becoming Welsh junior champion.
Like his father, George was a magnificent all-round sportsman. He loved to play tennis and golf and won an international cap (presented to him by Field Marshal Montgomery) when he played under 18s football for the Wales Boys Club against England at Fratton Park in Portsmouth. George provided the cross for Wales’ only goal that day.
Having studied at Holton Road Elementary School and Barry Grammar, George continued a family tradition by becoming a coal trimmer at Barry Docks. It was a hard and dangerous job, but it didn’t stop George playing semi-professional football (he had a trial for Everton FC), and winning his first of five Welsh Singles table tennis titles at the age of 23.
Table tennis was to take George around the world. In 1979 he became the first Welshman to win every game in his category at a World Championships – in front of 20,000 fans in Pyongyang, North Korea.
That stunning performance attracted the attention of a professional table tennis club in Lübeck, northern Germany – where George played for six years as the team’s solitary allowed foreign player in the Bundesliga.
George’s biggest achievement was winning the over 70s trophy at the European Veterans' Table Tennis Championship in Bratislava 2005. He also reached the semi-finals in both the 2006 World Veterans' Championship in Bremen and in the 2007 Euros in Rotterdam.
He has played table tennis as far afield as China and Japan, but George’s heart has never ventured far from the Vale of Glamorgan. He lives there today with his wife Stephanie (who has also won several Welsh table tennis titles) and remains actively involved in coaching and running a community club. Regardless of the weather, you’ll see him walking briskly around Rhoose Point lagoons as part of his daily exercise routine.
And whilst he’s been introduced to plenty of celebrities and dignitaries on his far-flung travels, it was at his local Ysgol Bro Morgannwg School where one of his favourite star meeting memories was made.
Lord Coe, in his role as Chairman of the London Olympic Games Organising Committee at the time, visited Barry as part of his whistle stop tour of Wales in 2009 – and challenged George to a game of table tennis.
He questioned why George, now aged 74, had placed a person each side of his end of the table. “It’s to catch the ball,” said George. “I put so much spin on my serve, you won’t be able to hit it!”
The Table Tennis Wales Board unanimously elected George to become its President in 2018, and was delighted when he accepted the invitation.
With unparalleled experience and infectious enthusiasm, George plays a vital role in development of the game in Wales – and we are proud to have him as our President.