Waverley Club’s ‘Mr Squash’ made an MBE in New Year’s Honours list

Squash has had its share of knocks recently from a domestic shutdown due to Covid induced restrictions on indoor activities to again being rejected by the Olympic programme committee in favour of – amongst others – break-dancing.
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So, an MBE in the New Year’s Honours for 65-year-old local enthusiast Dave Ferguson (citation “services to squash”) is guaranteed to bring a bit of much needed rejoicing all the way between Edinburgh’s Waverley club which he has served for over 40 years to, er, Kaiserslautern in Germany whom he would play for at weekends as further testimony to an unwavering commitment to the sport.

It also speaks volumes that Dave’s have-racquet-will-travel adventure is told in the history of rival club, Edinburgh Sports Club, who included him in recognition of many hours spent refereeing and organising tournaments on their courts as a visiting official.

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“At the invitation of great friends I played for Kaiserslautern from season 2003-4, flying at the club’s expense from Prestwick to Frankfurt Hahn every few Fridays. I’d land about 11pm and be chauffeured for over an hour to stay with a team-mate.

Dave Ferguson of Edinburgh’s Waverley Club, who has been awarded an MBE for 'services to squash'  Picture: ContributedDave Ferguson of Edinburgh’s Waverley Club, who has been awarded an MBE for 'services to squash'  Picture: Contributed
Dave Ferguson of Edinburgh’s Waverley Club, who has been awarded an MBE for 'services to squash' Picture: Contributed

“On Saturday we’d play two matches ….. on Sunday I’d be shovelled back onto the plane, arriving home a bit before midnight.“

And then it would be back to Waverley where his contributions, which also include overseeing tennis, have been summed up by secretary Marion Hunter.

“Dave is known by many as “Mr Squash” having given over 40 years of voluntary service, including serving on the East of Scotland Squash committee and refereeing to national level and training referees.

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“He has been recognised by Scottish Squash as their Referee of the Year (2018), Supporter of the Year (2011-12) and was recipient of the Services to Squash Award (2015).

“He’s been Men’s Squash Captain (18 years), Bar Convenor (two years), Squash Convenor (two years), Social Convenor (15 years to date), Club Tournament Organisers (42 years go date) and President (2010-13 and 2016 to date)” says Marion.

What could have been added is that Dave was twice club champion (1995 and 1996) although representative honours always eluded this quintessential grassroots sporting advocate.

Despite all those accolades the MBE came “out of the blue” with a “hoax" suspected.

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Says David: “On receiving an e-mail I turned to fellow Waverley member Mike Gibson who had received an OBE several years previously.

“Assurance that it was genuine was forthcoming from Mike who said ‘of course, I was one of those who nominated you!”

Dave Ferguson’s squash journey started in 1976 when he visited Meadowbank to play badminton only to find a mix up in the court booking.

“That was how I first tried this unknown game called squash and I was immediately hooked helped by Scottish Widows employers having a ladder competition.

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“I started at the bottom – No. 50 – but progressed to the top helped by joining the Waverley club within a year.”

Participation-wise Dave is nowadays content to be on stand-by for Waverley’s lowest team but administration remains a passion and he will spend this week organising referees for the £40k Edinburgh Sports Club International Open which runs until Sunday.

Good things come in three’s they do say, too, with, at the time of writing Dave and wife Yvonne imminently due to become grandparents while as a Tynecastle season ticket holder, the Hearts 3, Hibernian 0 scoreline was undoubtedly right up there with other festive highlights!

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