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R.I.P. Bernard Warden

Ex-Players Association pays tribute.

26 November 2021

Wycombe Ex-Players are sorry to learn of the death of one of their oldest members. Bernard Warden, who has passed away at 91, had only one season with the Blues, playing regularly for the strong reserve team which included the likes of Len Worley, Norman West, Terry Albert and Arthur Burgess.

But he never forgot his time under Sid Cann at Loakes Park despite a busy and distinguished sporting life that followed - eventually becoming a member of WWEPA two years ago at the grand old age of 89.

He attended a reunion at Adams Park in March 2019 and, guided by Brian Lee, was delighted to mix with players from every era. He supported and tracked the Wanderers’ progress every season with his 10-year-old grandson, Dylan Nowell, who shares his passion for football.

Bernard was particularly proud that Dylan played for Wycombe Wanderers Elites since he was five and is currently trialling for a local football Academy. Dylan will definitely miss the football banter they shared and really wanted to let everyone know how proud he is of his Grandad for all his amazing list sporting achievements.

Bernard, one of the original pioneering forces behind the UK’s Sports and Recreation Industry, was involved in sport all his life having completed his National Service serving as a Physical Training Instructor. Following five years as an Outward-Bound Instructor in Wales and West Africa, Bernard began his career in Sports and Recreation Management in 1959.

During that time, he played for Woking as well as Wycombe, before becoming manager for the British Cameroon national football team after qualifying as an FA Coach. He then began his lifelong association with Basketball and Elite Sports Development by first becoming National Team Manager of Wales, then served 10 years as the England manager before being selected to lead the GB Olympic basketball team for the 1964, 1968 & 1972 Olympic Games.

Bernard helped pioneer basketball as a television sport. As manager at Bracknell Sports Centre, he originated & organised “Sports Town” - a national, inter-town TV competition hosted by David Vine and Ron Pickering which aired on prime-time BBC television for four series between 1973-76.

This led to Bernard’s 14-year involvement with the Sports Aid Foundation, which allowed the country's top athletes to compete against usually better-resourced overseas rivals, raising money for the development of GB swimmers such as Duncan Goodhew and Sharron Davies.

Bernard was also appointed as Technical Adviser on Sports Centre Management to the then Minister for Sport, Sir Ian McFarlane between 1983 – 1985 while continuing in his career as Director of Leisure Services for Dacorum Borough Council.

A long-standing member of Round Table and Rotary clubs as well as serving on Parish Councils, Bernard even found time to for another sporting passion. A keen sailor and former national dinghy racing champion, he completed many Isle of Wight “Round the Island” races.

Bernard was very much a family man, married for over 60 years with four children and six grandchildren. He will be sadly missed not only by his family, but by the many people he worked with over his illustrious career. His funeral takes place at Bierton near Aylesbury tomorrow.

Wycombe are sorry to learn of the death of another ex-player, Tony Thompson. A fine local Wycombe District schoolboy player, he made two senior appearances for the Blues in the 1961-62 season. He was also a fine cricketer. His funeral takes place at the Chilterns Crematorium on Monday (12.15).

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