NewsObituaries: Peter Howarth & John Roberts

27th July 20205
Peter Howarth & John Roberts

It is with great regret that we have learnt of the passing within a few days of each other of two of our Life Members and former Presidents of the British Pétanque Association (BPA), Peter Howarth and John Roberts. Both worked together to promote and develop our sport.

We would like to express our sincere condolences to the friends and families of both Peter and John and below we reproduce two tributes.

Peter Howarth

by Steve Lombard (our Southern Counties Region President)

It is with great sadness that I have to inform you that Peter Howarth has passed away.

Peter was involved in pétanque from the very early days of the organisation in this country initially as a member of Cobbetts Boules Club, then with Southampton Arms and Botley Butchers.

He became President of the Southern Region in 1982 before giving up this role to become National President with the BPA in 1984. On his retirement from this position in 1990, he was awarded BPA life membership. He returned to have another spell as regional president from 1994 until 1997.

In recent years, ill-health prevented him from playing but he still took a keen interest in the sport.

Peter was a charming man and a true gentleman. He will be greatly missed by all that knew him. Our thoughts are with Marianne and the family.

From my own personal perspective – I have known Peter from a time before pétanque and I grew up going to school with his sons and daughters in Botley. Peter always gave a hundred percent and was instrumental in forming a Parent Teachers Association, which went on to raise money and build a large outdoor swimming pool for Botley primary School.

It was the same energy that he put into his time in office both as Southern Regional President and National President.

John Roberts

by Ged Barton (our Devon Region President and former BPA President)

It is with great sadness I have to inform you that John Roberts passed away last Friday, 24th July.

In the 1980’s John set up the Royal Oak PC in Marlow and with a few other local clubs they joined the Southern Region with John later becoming Vice President with Peter Howarth as President. Subsequently these clubs, with the blessing of the Southern Region, joined up with the Pennant League, then part of the Eastern Region to form the (now old) Chiltern Region. John was its first President and was supported by John Poole as Vice President.

He served as President of the Region until 1992 and during this time increased the regions playing numbers to nearly 200 with four eight team leagues in operation in the Thames Valley League, with more in the Pennant League. During these years he received “Sportsman of the Year” awards from both Marlow Town Council and Buchinghamshire CC in recognition of his services to the Sport of Petanque in the local area.

He became the National President of the BPA (1992) following the passing of his predecessor, Barrie Lees, and during his three years in office saw the appointment of our first employee, David Kimpton, as National Secretary (previous position holders having been elected volunteers)  and the opening of the BPA office near Leamington Spa. On his retirement the membership of the BPA was near its peak of some 4,500 members.

John was an innovative person, a strong leader with the ability to ensure that good ideas were put into practice. His marketing skills resulted in the BPA having national sponsorship of events such as the Pernod competition around the country.

On his retirement as National President in 1995 John continued to enjoy the sport, playing for many years until ill health forced him to retire.

Our thoughts, at this difficult time, are with his wife Laurie, his two daughters Jane and Katie and his grandson William.


  • Diz and Phil murray

    28th July 2020 at 7:05 am

    John was very instrumental in the development of our future in the sport,he was a good friend we had many happy times,learning the techniques of throwing a decent pointed boule, along with Gussy Roblet and John Forbes , every Saturday afternoon ,then shooting practise,famous words were that was close J R, Peter Howarth was a true gent. and worked very hard getting the sport established they both will be sadly missed and fondly remembered our condolences to both families. Diz and Phil ,


  • Jerome Morais

    28th July 2020 at 8:22 am

    My condolences to families of Peter Howarth and John Roberts who I served with on the National Management Committee and Presidents meeting every 2 months. Both gentlemen served with a passion to the sport, and were keen to Improve and spread the popularity of the sport. My thoughts and prayers to both families.


  • Ronald Girdler

    28th July 2020 at 8:56 am

    So sad to hear of John’s passing He was a true gent and a great inspiration to the Thames Valley where I first met him.He for many years ran the Thursday Vets at the Royal Oak Marlow which ran for many years and only to be disbanded a couple of years ago.Rest in peace my dear fried.


  • Pete Hardy

    1st August 2020 at 2:50 pm

    I have fond memories of John who was a mentor to my son Steven who represented Britain at the Junior World Championships in Sweden some thirty years ago.
    He made a tremendous contribution to the sport and will be missed by us all.


  • Kevin Wood

    4th August 2020 at 2:43 am

    So sad to hear the double loss of pass presidents Peter and John..


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