Welsh Veterans Fencing Association Older, Sneakier, Wiser.....
Welsh Veterans Fencing Association       Older, Sneakier, Wiser.....

History of the Welsh Veterans

 

The WVFA originally started with a senior competition for those over 40 years of age. It was arranged by Professor Peter Stewart and held at Bridgend Fencing Club in 1991, it was all weapons and all sectors and after a very excellent social weekend it was decided that we would hold another competition at the same time the following year. 

In 1992 it was held again and at the luncheon after the Sunday fencing it was discussed whether or not to form our own Veterans Association, the decision was unanimous and the Welsh Veterans Fencing Association was born. 

WVFA was officially 25years old in October 2017,  although we have had 26 years of Veteran competitions; and in that time the membership has grown from 17 to over 100, with the Annual Championships and AGM still being held in October at various locations in Wales.
Welsh Veterans have been instrumental in organising and motivating the veteran community throughout the World.
 
Welsh Veterans were instrumental in lobbying for the inaugural Commonwealth Veterans Competition in 1995; with Wrexham, Wales, attracting 119 fencers from eight Commonwealth Countries in 2001.
The event is now held every two years with Commonwealth countries vying to host the event, Wales being one of the Commonwealth countries that has had Veteran fencers attend in each event. 

WVFA instigated the Celtic Challenge in 2004, which includes all the Celtic Nations, Wales, Isle of Man, Channel Isles, Whole of Ireland, Brittany, Galacia, Asturias,Scotland and Cornwall. It is held on alternate years,  the latest Celtic Challenge took place in Cardiffl in 2017, with Wales retaining the coveted Celtic Dragon for the 6th time (non consecutively).
 
The WVFA organised and held the first Veterans Home 4 Nations,in Wrexham in 2007 and is now an annual event, the venue moving to each of the 4 Nation countries in rotation. The event was named as "The Justin Smith Trophy" in memory of Welsh fencer Justin Smith who died at the first event.
 
Our aim continues, having been stated at our first meeting to give every fencer over 40 years of age the opportunity to have an equal chance to represent our Country in a friendly and convivial atmosphere.
 
The Welsh are recognised as being one of the most congenial and friendliest fencing Nations and are always at the forefront of innovation. Welsh Veterans fencing has made the commitment to continue to be innovative and improve all aspects of fencing in Wales for all generations. Long may we continue.
 
Mike Norfolk(Life President)

Mike Norfolk MBE (2010)

Mike Norfolk MBE

Mike Norfolk has been honoured with the award of MBE in the Queens Birthday Honours List.  This is for 'services to Healthcare and to Fencing in Chester and Wrexham'.

I would like to congratulate Mike on behalf of Welsh Fencing

Bob Turner
Chairman Welsh Fencing

Mike Norfolk MBE - Queen Honours our magnificient Chairperson

Mike Norfolk has been informed from the Cabinet Office:
“The Prime Minister has asked me to inform you .. that Her Majesty may be graciously pleased to approve that you be appointed a Member of the British Empire (MBE) in the Birthday 2010 Honours List.”
The Citation is for “Services to Healthcare and Fencing in Chester and “Wrexham”.
The following is a letter from Mike's wife the lovely Bunny who gives us the details of how this wonderful event occurred.
"Dear Members, In November 2008, I was approached by a Mr X who said he would like to put Mike forward for an Award. I arranged a secret meeting, gave him as much information as possible, and names of those who might write a testimonial in strict confidence. Just before Christmas '08 Mike had a phone call from the Deputy Lord Lt. of Cheshire asking for an interview, to which Mike turned to me and said,"What have you been up to?" "Me? Little old me, ...why?" On Christmas morning I confessed....Mike had his interview at home and we were able to pass as much information, photos and the publicity of his activities at The Countess of Chester Hospital, Chester Heart Support Group and his sport in Chester and Wrexham over the years. All this had to be kept extremely secret and it could take up to three years, or nothing at all. You can imagine his surprise when a letter from the Cabinet Office came a few weeks ago and stated, "The Prime Minister has asked meto inform you in the strict confidence that Her Majesty may be graciously pleased to approve that you be appointed a Member of The British Empire (MBE) in the Birthday 2010 Honours List." The leter went on to say whether or not this would be agreeable and if you accept your name would be published in The London Gazette and some National Newspapers on 12th June 2010. The Citation is for "Services to Healthcare and Fencing in Chester and Wrexham" and all during his own serious illnesses. There will be an Investuture within the next six months. Obviously we have to to respect the confidentiality, but we wanted to share this amazing honour with our family and friends. We expect this will be quite a surprise but you can imagine we are very excited, although Mike has not grasped why he has been so honoured! Wrexham Fencing Club hosted a big competition on the weekend of the 12th and 13th and of course his fencing takes priority without question! With our love and best wishes, Bunny and Mike.
All members of the Welsh Veterans Fencing Association wish Mike Norfolk their most sincere and heartfelt wishes on this very great acheivement, we all know what a great man he is and our especial good wishes to Bunny for keeping what was a very great secret!

Mike Norfolk (MBE) and Gillian Aghajan

At the 2014 AGM of the WVFA it was with great sadness that Mike Norfolk (MBE) stepped down from his role as the Chairman of the WVFA. 

In a very moving and heartfelt speech made on behalf of all the WVFA members, present and in absentia,  by Gillian Aghajan,Mike was presented with a replica of the sword of the "Black Prince" and a replica of the Celtic Challenge tophy "Arturo", to commemorate his dedication, commitment and unerring support of Veterans fencing in Wales.

At the Commonwealth championships, Mike was awarded with a life-time acheivement from the Commonwealth committee. (picture to follow)

Gillian also stepped down from her role as secretary to the WVFA. On behalf of the WVFA Pat Shepherd-Foster presented her with a commemorative glass vase in recognition of all the hard work and dedication she has shown to the WVFA over her time as secretary. Gillian now takes up her role as the Chairman of the BVA, we offer our congratulations and wish her all the very best in her role.

 Bunny Norfolk: 5th July 2018

It is with deepest regret that I have to inform the membership that Bernice (Bunny) Norfolk, wife of Mike Norfolk, MBE,  Life President of the WVFA, former head coach and founder of Wrexham fencing club, passed away on Thursday 4th July at home after a short illness. 

The funeral was held on Wednesday 18th July at Chester Crematorium, Blaken, Chester at 3.20pm. 

Mark Robertson attended the service and offered condolences on behalf of the membership to Mike and family. Flowers were sent on our behalf.

A donation to the Heart foundation has been made as requested by the family.

Welsh Fencing will also be posting this on the WF site as Mike and Bunny have been held in high esteem for many years.

Justin Smith 1954 - 2007

Justin tragically died whilst on the piste fencing in the inaugural 4 Nations Veterans Fencing Competition on Saturday 27th January 2007.

Justin was the Welsh Veterans Competition Secretary and Chairman of Swansea Fencing Club.

He was passionate about his fencing, a happy, smiling man. It was lovely to be in his company.

Justin will be sadly missed by all that knew him. He leaves a wife, Dian and children. All our thoughts are with his family.

Mike Norfolk.

Bob Turner: 1941 -2013

When I started Wrexham Fencing Club over twenty years ago, Bob as Chairman of Welsh Fencing, guided us though the red tape, suggesting ideas. In addition, he assisted us regarding funding.

Some years later, Henry asked if we could start up a Welsh Veterans Fencing Association. The nine Veterans in Wales agreed to this, after Peter Stewart organised two Veterans Welsh competitions.

The WVFA now has over 90 members, and Bob had been a committee member ever since its inception. As Veteran fencing grew throughout the world Bob represented Wales in Great Britain, Europe, the Commonwealth, and the World. He was President of the Commonwealth Veterans' Fencing Association, Chairman of Welsh Fencing and Chairman of Whitchurch Fencing Club.

Bob was a superb epeeist, and other friends who knew him as a young man will tell you of his skill.

We will all miss him so much.

Our deepest condolences to Vivian, Ben and the Family

Mike Norfolk MBE
Chairman WVFA

Carol Wengraff: 1938- 2012

Carol tragically died whilst fencing in the Celtic Challenge taking place in Galicia, Spain on 23rd June 2012.

She joined the NVA in 1997 and immediately earned the respect of her veteran fencing colleagues through her warmth and generous attitude towards everyone who met her.

Carol was a 3 weapon fencer and always entered all 3 weapons in the National Championships and was remarkably consistent in displaying her considerable fencing ability.

From 2001 to 2011 she won her age category medal in Women's Sabre every year at the British Veterans Championships and missed just one medal in 2008 when she retired injured.

From 2003 to 2011, she competed in the European Veterans Individual Championships, a competition held every 2 years, and in 2007 she won the Silver Medal. In every other event, she won the Gold Medal which was a truly remarkable achievement.

During this time, she also won 2 Bronze medals at Epee in 2009 and 2011 and won the Women's Sabre Gold Medal in the 2011 Veterans World Championships.

Before she retired, Carol was an ENT surgeon at a time when there were considerable barriers to women in the profession. Carol leaves a son, David, Daughter in Law Helen and a grandson who she always affectionately called “sprogget”

Carol was a true Ambassador for Great Britain's veteran fencing and she has certainly left a legacy of achievement as an example for all veterans to follow and she will be sadly missed by us all.

2011 was a glittering year for our lovely Carol as she became the European ladies sabre champion and the World champion.

 

click for hi-res image

Mike Lee: 1942 - 2010

 

Mike Lee, stalwart of Whitchurch Fencing Club, passed away unexpectedly in the early hours of 21st January 2010 from a heart attack.

Mike Lee was one of the first to join Whitchurch Fencing Club, in their "new" venue in Llanishen Leisure Centre in 1987, after they had outgrown their space in Whitchurch Adult Centre.   By that time, Mike was already an accomplished fencer,and soon made his mark at Whitchurch.   With his precise style, characterised by his quick steps, and never dropping his guard, he was able to defeat many very able fencers.

Always smiling, Mike was enthusiastic to the last.   Despite having to fit in his fencing around his shift work at the then Visco-Suisse works, Mike was always the first to enrol for the competition of the day, whether with the 'Vets', or the Turner Cup, or the former Whitchurch Summer Shield, or the Miller-Hallett at Hendon. He has been described by many as 'a perfect gentleman' on the piste.   Mike's son, Nick, followed him into fencing. and soon ran up a string of successes of his own at the Sullivan Cup.   When Nick moved on to other competitions, Mike stepped into Nick's role, and took the 2003 & 2005 victories in the Sullivan !

Sadly, very shortly afterwards Mike's health started to decline.   However, he will be sadly missed by all, and our sympathies are with his widow, Sue, and Nick, and their family.

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