It is with great sadness that we announce the death of our friend, colleague and coach Nick Gibbs.
On 2nd January 2018 the 62-year-old passionate advocate of disability sports passed away in a hospice following a short battle with kidney cancer.
Nick was an integral part of SportsAble. He joined in 1998 along with his wife Gill and daughters Fiona and Kirsten where they soon became involved in many areas of the charity.
Keen Table Tennis players they began volunteering in the sport, enjoying the lively twice weekly sessions that offered fun, friendship and high competition against other local clubs.
As a family they attended many social functions and were ever present at fundraisers, especially on the day of large events such as the annual Wheelchair Push.
Nick’s volunteering capacity soon went beyond the sports courts and into the boardroom where he joined the sports committee in 2007. There he influenced many of the sports and policies that the charity still has running today.
In 2009 Nick proudly joined SportsAble as its Sports Manager, a part-time office role that saw him develop and manage sport not just within the charity but externally as well.
A great thinker and a strategist, Nick was forever working on plans to improve and expand the offerings to disabled people at SportsAble. He was also a great believer in competitive sports and initiated fantastic annual Grands Prix in Table Tennis and Air Weapons. People came from all over the UK to compete in these excellently organised competitions that gave local sports stars the chance to compete alongside visiting Paralympians.
Nick worked closely with SportsAble’s Chairman, Vivienne Davies, on the charity’s larger projects and events, most notably the Annual Awards Dinner where he never failed to impress with his impeccable organisation and sharp tuxedo suit. The Annual Awards Dinner was – and still is – the highlight of the SportsAble calendar of events where members, volunteers and fundraisers are honoured for their dedication and progress.
As well as focusing on serious sports and events Nick also had a wonderful sense of humour and love of fun sports and was a hit with our Sunday Funday children.
Seven years ago he helped to create and run the monthly ‘have a go’ sessions that saw disabled children and their families come from all over the south east to enjoy sports together.
It was there that Nick let his love of New Age Kurling show – a sport that even the most severely disabled children can do – and he and his wife Gill would run two or more hours of kurling, never once minding the hard work involved.
The role of Sports Manager was held with passion until Nick’s retirement in 2015 upon which he and his wife Gill and friends began travelling and really enjoying life.
However, SportsAble was never forgotten, as Nick was still a key volunteer in several areas. Perhaps his greatest achievement in those years was becoming a Wheelchair Basketball coach and helping the SportsAble Rockets grow into the strong squad that it is today.
Nick also held the position of Secretary within the Great British Kurling Association where he was largely responsible for developing and promoting the sport up and down the country. Nick was also the manager of several national and world kurling championships where he grew the interest of the sport globally and elevated the status of SportsAble, encouraging several members to take part. Under his guidance and coaching many of them did – and returned back to SportsAble with trophies and titles.
SportsAble has a bright future ahead of it thanks to the hard work and dedication of Nick Gibbs. Behind every fun sports session there is a team of people led by a strong manager who carefully arranges the serious stuff such as policies, best practices, coaches’ training, health and safety and more. That person was Nick. He did all the hard work so that members and volunteers could enjoy a safe and happy place.
Over the years of Nick’s involvement the reputation of SportsAble as a disability community sports centre strengthened and many turned to us for advice and teaching, as they still do today. Many of the pieces of community work that Nick put into place with schools, with Get Berkshire Active, with other disability groups are still thriving today. If it wasn’t for his diligence and careful attention to detail we wouldn’t have such strong links and such a wide a reach as we do. So many lives have been touched – and will continue to be – by his passion for disability sport.
Nick’s death has shocked us all at SportsAble and our staff, trustees and members will take some time to adjust. Our hearts go out to his family at this very sad time.
Please use the link below to add your message to our book of condolences.
The funeral arrangements are as follows:
Wednesday 17th January 2018
11 am St John the Evangalist Church, Bath Rd, Littlewick Green, Maidenhead SL6 3QR
12.15 pm Reading Crematorium – All Hallows Rd, Reading RG4 5LP
Followed by a celebration of Nick’s life at the SportsAble clubhouse.