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Serge Cattez

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Many of you will recall our memorable trips to Merville in Northern France in 1995 and 1997. Serge Cattez was our amazing host and apart from the table tennis he organised trips to the Ch'Ti brewery and Mont Noir. We had Merlot fuelled lunches which saw the quality of play deteriorate in the afternoon and an evening soiree hosted by the Mayor of Merville. Serge also commissioned special bottles of wine for us and the label bore a map of England and France with a pair of hands from Merrow and Merville shaking hands. A framed replica can still be seen at the Merrow clubroom.

Unfortunately the Merville Club closed down amid a certain amount of bitterness and sadly for Serge life has not been kind. After he retired he and Liliane bought a farmhouse in the Haute-Loire departemente and he did a wonderful renovation job. Shortly after completion Liliane became ill with cancer so they sold up and moved to Aire-sur-la-Lys which is fairly close to Merville, to be close to better medical services. Much time had been lost in getting a correct diagnosis and Liliane passed away quite soon after the move.

We visited Serge on our meandering back from the World Veterans Championships in Alicante and he was in fine form. He has a companion called Christiane who had been great friends with Liliane and they are renovating this house which they share with a cockatiel called 'happy'. (see picture)

The following will come as no surprise to those who remember him. We arrived at 3.00 pm on Sunday afternoon and we were immediately offered an aperitif. This was followed by a four course meal with vin blanc and vin rouge. Then he announced that he had booked a table in a restaurant in St. Omer at 9.00 pm. After the meal and feeling fully bloated Serge drove us home (he was head of police!) and on the way we found a red setter wandering across the road. He stopped and bundled him in the car and took him home as well. (We understand that the owner was found the next day).

We shared many happy memories and he asked to be remembered to everyone who made the trips. He remembered many names especially 'le plombier formidable' (Colin Webber).

John & Tina Callcut

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