"Beautiful lady with a beautiful spirit", "lovely lady", "lovely smiley lady" – these were some of the sentiments of the members of the Badminton Umpires Association of England (BUAofE) who had the privilege of knowing Christine Sims, or Chrissie as she was known to most of us. Sadly, this lovely lady's smile will no longer grace our badminton venues in England or Wales, as Chrissie passed away on the 22nd November after a battle against pancreatic cancer, bravely fought.
Chrissie loved her badminton and was a stalwart member of the BUAofE, having joined us in 2001, and of the Badminton Wales Umpires Association, having joined them in 2010. As a member of the BUAofE, she achieved National Grade in 2010, was a Regional Assessor, and was, for a number of years, the Regional Secretary of Midland Region, which she managed with aplomb.
During her time volunteering as an umpire for the BUAofE, Chrissie attended well over 150 events, during which she officiated in nearly 1800 matches, mostly as umpire, but also as service judge, of which 138 were finals. She also attended all of the Welsh Senior and Junior National Championships from 2010 until 2015, and between her English and Welsh appointments umpired at the European Senior Championships, as well as international tournaments in Hungary, Croatia, Estonia, Czech Republic, and Poland. Her national appointments in England also included the All England, the English National Championships, Premiership events, and a number of National Age Group Championships. Chrissie also worked as a line judge at the All England, and perhaps one of her crowning achievements was acting as a line judge at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
The following memories were sent to me by members of the Association. Tony Browne wrote: "…my overriding memory comes from the Croatia International in Zagreb in 2010. Christine was there on one of [her] overseas duties as a member of the Welsh Association, and this was the only one of my overseas trips when I was accompanied by my wife, Denise. The first person we found when we arrived at the … hotel was Christine, and from that first moment, in the bar, she was one of those who made the whole experience so enjoyable, particularly for Denise."
The second memory comes from Nigel South: "A few years ago at Hatfield 17 - 21 event, Martyn Davis in the chair and me as his service judge. Chrissie, sat to my right at the end of the court spectating, complete with large clear bag of multi-coloured sweets perched precariously on her angled lap as she had her flat umpire shoes on. Bless her, she had transferred the sweets into a "quiet" clear bag to avoid disturbing play. Things didn't quite go to plan however as, mid-rally, she adjusted her seat and the bag, in almost slow motion, slid forward and off her lap. Trying to prevent the inevitable she threw her hands forward to attempt a catch, but caught the bag with a forward thrust instead, and the court saw a vast selection of Minstrels and M&M's accelerating past the players, covering the whole of the court. Such was the laughter from all around the court, Martyn took several seconds to work out what had happened and call let, which is difficult to say whilst laughing. Chrissie had the loveliest scarlet complexion by this time, and on subsequent meetings I always enquired whether she had brought a bag of sweets. I was always politely chastised for reminding her. Fond memories indeed and I shall miss being chastised with that lovely accent she had."
An altogether lovely and beautiful lady, with a beautiful spirit and a lovely smile, who will be sadly missed and fondly remembered by many members of the BUAofE.
Honorary Secretary of the BUAofE