12 August 2013
The West Dorset Fencing Club, based in Bridport, is mourning the loss of one of it’s most supportive members. Bill Hoskyns MBE of North Perrott, has been associated with the club for several years, bringing his grandchildren to learn fencing and fencing himself with the club members. He died at the weekend after a long illness.
Hoskyns was one of the greatest fencers this country has produced, representing Great Britain in no less than six Olympic Games. He was world epee champion in 1958, won an Olympic silver medal as part of the brilliant team in the Rome Olympics in 1960, and four years later won a second silver at the Tokyo Olympics, this time in the individual event. Over his fencing career he took nine Commonwealth gold medals, and held a record never surpassed in British fencing.
In the 1950s he would frequently fly his own plane to competitions abroad and in 1956 he caused something of a sensation by being the first civilian to fly into Budapest since the war.
To catalogue his achievements and competition successes over his years of fencing would, indeed, take up several pages, but for his last few years he devoted his time and support to our local club, who will never forget him.
Shirley Parker, founder of the West Dorset Fencing Club, and herself a member of the Rome and Tokyo Olympic teams, says “Bill was always the perfect English gentleman. He had won so many competitions, but no one ever heard him say a word that could have been taken as conceited. He won seven British National Championship titles at three different weapons, and many major competitions abroad against the world’s best, but he will also be remembered for his willingness to help young fencers and to support our club in every way.”