Badminton Association Career
1921-1934 Member of Badminton Association Executive Committee
1934-56 Vice President
1957-59 President and Chair of Executive Committee
1959-61 Honorary Life Vice President
Badminton Association of England Career
1935-52 Vice President
1947-61 Chair of Council
Brigadier (Ronald) Bruce Hay was a badminton man through and through, rising from a club official to the President of the International Badminton Federation in an involvement with the sport lasting more than 50 years right up to 1961 when he died in office as President and Chair of Council at the Badminton Association of England
His success was based on his endearing nature. The October 1961 issue of The Badminton Gazette wrote in his obituary that “he was a man of infinite charm and generous to a degree not often met in these days.”
He was born in Cheshire but brought up in London and his first involvement with the game came in 1909 before the First World War as a playing member of the Richmond Badminton Club in South-West London – he lived then in nearby Twickenham.
Within three years he had cut his administrative teeth by running the Surrey Championships. But it was as a member of the Logan BC that he took his first steps as an administrator. He was for many years a director and for some time chairman of the club.
A ship and oil broker like his father, election to the committee of the Badminton Association followed in 1921. By 1935 he was a Vice President of the offshoot Badminton Association of England, Chairman in 1947 and in 1952, by now living in London’s Hyde Park area, he became President, a position he held until his death.
By remaining chairman of the Council at the same time as being President, the
BA of E ensured they had a man with no intention of being just a figurehead President. He had a reputation for hard work and so it remained.
He was also chairman of its council for 14 years and had only stood down a few weeks before his death. On top of that, since 1946 he had chaired the All England Championships Committee.
Indeed, one of his proudest moments was in presenting the 1959 All England women’s singles trophy to Heather Ward (later Nielsen) when she became England’s first singles champion since the Second World War.
But his impact on the international game was just as significant as his domestic achievements in an administrative capacity that ran for 40 years..
It was a direct result of his formative work leading to the launch of the new International Badminton Federation in 1934 that he was immediately elected a
Vice President. He had been chairman of an ad hoc committee formed to investigate all the difficulties and issues that needed to be resolved before the new IBF could come into being. This committee’s proposal for the constitution of the IBF was accepted without a single amendment by the nine national organisations represented for the founding of the IBF.
He was to juggle domestic and international issues successfully right up to the end, notably and deservedly becoming IBF President in 1957 for a two-year term and was so committed to the administration of the sport that he was virtually an ever-present figure at the IBF’s meetings.
But that didn’t mean he neglected his roots. He had been President of the Middlesex County Badminton Association since its formation and early in his badminton career he refereed tournaments such as the Surrey and the London Championships.
His early involvement in badminton was interrupted by the First World War (1914-18) where for two years he and his gunnery unit saw action at Ypres. He was mentioned in despatches four times and gained his DSO in 1917 connected with “incidents in the Somme”. In the post-War period he was for a year Commandant of the Namur province until the Army left that area of Belgium.
During that time he rose from Lieutenant-Colonel to Colonel and finally Brigadier.
In the Second World War his appointments included command of all gunner cadet training.
Away from badminton, his business career was fascinating as it developed from his work in oil and shipping to become by 1925 chairman and managing director of Novocrete and Cement Products Ltd, a company developing a new form of concrete for the construction industry, specifically for use in road building and housing.
He died in a London road accident on May 27 1961, three months after celebrating his golden wedding with wife Jolette (nee Hertslet), who was a prominent competitor in London tournaments and, like her husband, a member of the Logan Club.
His memory endures at the Yonex All England Open Championships with the perpetual trophy for the women’s singles winner awarded in his memory.and Sir Geroge Thomas credited him with “raising the Championship meeting to the position it now holds in public popularity.”
Sir George also described him “as having proved himself one of the finest and most indefatigable workers in the history of badminton.”
Badminton England Museum
The Badminton Gazette
-- By William Kings