id1881-Phil Tomkins 1935-2017

Written by David Barrington   

Phil Tomkins 1935 - 2017

The Club is very sad to have learnt of the passing of Phil Tomkins, a former UK Chief Starter, and a prolific highly skilled and supportive mentor and lecturer in the arts of Starting in the UK and abroad. Phil, who died in Newmarket at the age of 82 on July 9th, had been suffering from dementia for some years and had been in a nursing home for the last 2 and a-half years.

He was born in the Kingston area on April 1st 1935,and, by profession, was a teacher. He was much involved with Surrey AC and coached groups in the Tiffin School Gym, including Doris Dean when she was General Secretary during the 1960s,and is remembered as a pleasant, helpful, amiable and friendly character within the sport. He also forged a career as the volunteer official, becoming a senior mentor for many past, future and present Starters and Starter’s Assistants/Marksmen who benefited from his expertise, not least Alan Bell, who was his modern counterpart (see: and he was a contributor to a number of publications on the art, a prime example being an illustrated booklet entitled “Getting Started as a Starter/Marksman” which can be viewed at the Kent County website –

Phil was much travelled, and much in demand, and climbed the national and international ladder both as an active Chief Starter and as a Lecturer abroad, but he was also fully active in the UK in the South of England and in Surrey. He was actually a member of Surrey AC, and a Vice President, which role he also held in the current KACPH. He was elected to the Presidency of Surrey County for 1975, following a spell as the County’s Coaching Secretary in the 1960s and was for many years a National Officials Secretary for Technical Officers. He left a legacy of his life in the sport, as current leading UK Starter and K&P member Peter Shilling is carrying forward Phil's legacy to Starting at both KACPH and at National levels.

Phil was born into a well-known Surrey family business, but having qualified in education he taught in Surrey initially. Subsequently, he was offered a Subject Leader post at Castle Manor School in Haverhill in Suffolk, and was promoted in time to Senior Teacher He moved to the Bury St Edmunds area, affiliating to West Suffolk AC.

The funeral will be held at the West Suffolk Crematorium in Risby, near Bury St Edmunds on Thursday, July 27th at 12.45. If anyone wishes to donate to the Alzheimer’s Society at Epsilon House, 1/5 Epsilon Terrace, Ipswich, Suffolk IP3 9SJ, then that would be the family’s preference.


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