Sue Collier was the embodiment of what the VETTS family is all about. She was talented and fiercely competitive on the table, winning countless titles; and also compassionate, caring and damn good fun off-the-table.
If you count her contribution in terms of trophies and medals, she is a champion by anyone's standards. But I think she would rather judge her success and her mark on the veterans family by the number of deep friendships she enjoyed and the happy times she shared.
Born into a supportive table tennis family, she attained considerable success as a junior, then senior, but I think she really found her natural 'table tennis home' when she became a veteran and joined the VETTS.
I can't begin to count up the VETTS Masters titles she won - for a time it was a regular clean sweep of every event she entered. But that was only part of Sue's story. It was the friendships; the energy and enthusiasm she brought to our circuit which made her so popular and loved.
Sue was a trained health practitioner and so embraced the role of 'first aider' at our events, always on hand to administer treatment and care. A few years ago, Sue was the driving force in raising funds so the VETTS could purchase a defibrillator, which is always present at our events.
Another of the many examples of that side of Sue's nature is her role as a 'Covid call girl'. During the Covid lockdown, Sue took on the task of making regular telephone calls for a chat with some of our members who we knew could be isolated and missing their regular contacts. She was the perfect person to chat for hours and I know those calls were much appreciated in difficult times.
Even though she would be playing until the late stages of two or three events - and was a designated first aider, she also found time to run the 200 Club - a valuable fund-raiser for our Society and was an active member of the VETTS Executive.
Sue adored the overseas trips with the VETTS. Again, she was often in with a strong chance of medalling in European or World events, but it was never about her and her achievements. She would be running around the venue offering support and advice to everyone who was part of our VETTS family, making sure that no-one was without encouragement and someone in their corner. On finals day, she would be outrageously dressed in England flags, hats and face paint to cheer her friends on.
In 2020, the VETTS showed how much her contribution was valued when she was presented with the Alan Ransome Players' Player Award with the citation 'a consistent winner, a gracious loser, has come back from her share of injuries and first on the scene in the event of any medical situations.' There are hundreds of tributes pouring into the VETTS Facebook site from players and friends around the world, each with their own "Sue story" of how she touched their lives - and each with a memory of a kind, caring girl who had an infectious joy and energy about her - a larger-than-life personality with a smile as big as her heart.
For the past few years, Sue has been plagued and frustrated by injuries. Ironically, she felt she had just turned a corner and had been put to the top of the list for a hip replacement operation. She was counting the days for the op so she could recover and return to the sport and the people she loved so much. Table tennis has lost a great player and the VETTS family has lost the personification of its soul. Our sincere condolences to Vicky and Sue's family. We will share details of funeral arrangements when they are known. We have linked a list of some of Sue's table tennis achievements.