John Arnold, the President of the English Schools’ Table Tennis Association (ESTTA), has been honoured in the New Year Honours List. He receives the MBE for Services to School Sport.
He has been involved in the promotion of competitive school sport since he took up his first teaching post in 1963 in his native town of Macclesfield, Cheshire. He moved to Wakefield, West Yorkshire in 1968 as Head of Mathematics in a new school before taking up Headship for 28 years at Sandal Endowed CE Middle School, later to become a Junior School – a school, not only with high academic standards, but one offering a wide range of extra-curricular activities in drama, music and sport.
His interest in the development of table tennis led to his election to the ESTTA Executive Committee in 1973. He has held the office of General Secretary, Chairman and President – the latter now combined with the role of Development Officer.
Following the successful organisation by ESTTA of the International School Sport Federation (ISF) Table Tennis World School Championships in Birmingham in 1993, he was invited to chair and set up the ISF Table Tennis Technical Commission which has organised biennial events in nine countries, eight in Europe and China. Champion School Teams and Nationally Selected Teams have represented ESTTA in all of these events. He stood down from office in 2010 and was made an Honorary Life Member of the ISF.
He felt privileged to be invited to head the inaugural the table tennis section of the UK School Games National Final staged in Glasgow in 1996 and continues to play a major part, supporting a strong ETTA/ESTTA team, promoting this annual event.
John openly admits that the success of ESTTA Team and Individual Championships, the Home Countries Internationals, together with the development of Projects is only possible because of the commitment of the ESTTA Executive, County Secretaries and friends of the Association who give freely many hours of their time.
His interest in school sport in general resulted in his acceptance in 2001 of the Chair of the National Council for School Sport (NCSS), a post he still holds.
He hopes that both ESTTA and NCSS ‘teams’ will share this honour for school sport.