Frank Hayes (2/4/1928 - 25/1/2008)

Frank Hayes joined Darnall & Handsworth Chess Club in 1992, when we were playing at The King’s Head in Darnall. For a long time he and several friends had been playing chess socially a short distance away at Darnall Liberal Club. Frank’s arrival just about coincided with vacancies in our second team and he became a regular member of it. Frank was always ready to play anybody, whether for one of the teams or just for fun at the club. He hardly ever refused a request to represent the club, so had been a Darnall & Handsworth stalwart for fifteen years. Selecting teams will be more difficult from now on.

A few years ago, when The King’s Head became unsuitable as a venue, it was Frank who suggested approaching Darnall Liberal Club, and it was his good offices that sealed the arrangement. We were very glad to find a perfect venue – it being both free and very quiet.

In his working life Frank was first employed in a surface job at a local coal mine, later moving on to work for Cravens as a carpenter. His final job was for Davys. The funeral, and the large attendance at it, testified to his much-loved status both within his family and amongst his friends. Clearly it won’t be just our chess club that will miss Frank’s cheery presence.

Frank’s funeral had an emotional finish – the timeless voice of Nat ‘King’ Cole singing ‘Smile’. A very good choice and presumably one made by Frank himself. Frank, if that was your final advice to us, then we’ll give it our best shot!

If anybody has any corrections or more information to add, especially a photograph, I would be pleased to hear from him or her.