An 82-year-old from Letchworth has won his first squash tournament for 30 years - and swiftly retired, ensuring he goes out on a high.

Patrick St Leger, who will be 83 in November, triumphed in the final of Ickleford Squash Club's annual Veterans Handicap tournament.

He had already decided to lay down his racket after the final on Sunday, October 8, following advice from an orthopaedic consultant. 

Patrick said: "The consultant told me, 'if I have hips like yours at 82, I'd be a very happy man, you've got fabulous hips'. There was a pregnant pause, and then he said 'pity about the knees'."

When Patrick asked what would happen if he kept playing squash, the consultant told him: "There would be an acceleration in the inevitable deterioration of your knees." He decided at that point to retire after the final.

Patrick faced Mark Turner in the final, who he describes as a "relative stripling", aged 60.

They contested a match over the best of five games, with each game being closely fought. 

Afterwards, Patrick complimented his opponent, and said: "He has many more years ahead of him, and should look forward to winning at least the next 22 such tournaments!"


The success had been a long time coming for Patrick, who had been playing squash for 70 years and last won a singles tournament in 1990.

He first visited Ickleford Squash Club in September 2010, and wrote in his diary at the time: "The people are friendly and the showers are hot. I may well join".

And while Patrick may have had to retire from squash, he's not letting that prevent him from keeping fit.

In addition to swimming 1km at Letchworth outdoor pool every day during the summer, he has now added a 20 mile cycle ride on a stationary bike to his daily exercise regime. 

Ickleford Squash Club, in Chambers Lane, aims to be the "most friendly, inclusive, and vibrant" club in the area.

Squash players of all ability levels are welcome to join, and free coaching is available for juniors and ladies. A professional coach is also available.

Potential members can come along for free social club nights at the weekend. They run from 7.30pm until 9pm on Fridays, and from 6.30pm until 8pm on Sundays.