Sad News – John Alexander


A Tribute by Abby Kumar

Dr John Alexander, the former President of the Badminton Line Judges Association of England, sadly passed away on the 20th March after a long illness. John was the founder of the BLJAofE, and it was the formation of this association that led to the transformation in the recognition of the role of line judges and to the benefits they would subsequently receive.

John’s considerable contribution to badminton started with his involvement in organising the line judge team for the All England Championships, then held at the Wembley Arena. He took on this responsibility in 1982, and he continued as Manager of Line Judges until 2012, a period of 31 years. This is a record that surely will never be surpassed. During this period, before the age of PCs and emails, he would do all the pre-tournament work of organising his team, and then manage them over the period of the event. The workload in writing individual letters, posting them, and also making numerous phone calls, must have been considerable, all done while he was working as a microbiologist. John realised that the line judges were making considerable sacrifices in time and money while working at the All England, and that they were not receiving the recognition that they deserved. After the event moved to Birmingham in 1994, John began his work in forming an association to represent line judges, with the aim to get recognition and benefits for line judges from Badminton England. Following his initiative, the first AGM of the BLJAofE was held at the All England in March 1996, with John becoming its first President, a position he held until he stepped down in 2014. During John’s tenure as President, the Association made considerable progress in getting more benefits from Badminton England, and recognition in being awarded a seat on the Badminton England Council, and equal standing with the Umpires Association of England and County Badminton Associations.

John also worked tirelessly for Badminton England in organising officials for the Nationals and other events like international matches, which used to be held in the autumn. John contributed considerably to the running of Lancashire County Badminton Association and he was their Chairman for many years. John was also very active as a tournament referee, and he was very involved in the organisation of the Inter-County Championships.

For his considerable services to badminton, John was appointed Vice President of Badminton England. Later, when ill health prevented him from attending meetings, he was made an Honorary Life Vice President of Badminton England. His outstanding work was also recognized by Badminton World Federation in the award of the BWF Meritorious Service Award in 2000. All of us who knew him and worked with him would recognize John as a very hard-working man who gave his all for the game he loved. We will miss you John. Your legacy will continue with the on-going good work of the association you worked so hard to set up. Rest in peace.

Please feel free to leave a tribute to John in the “Leave a Reply” comment box below.

10 Responses

  1. This is indeed very sad news. I first met Dr John B Alexander in 1989, where I asked for his help to Line Judge at the All England, Wembley Arena in London. He was very helpful, and I worked with him for 5 years when I first line judged.
    He was a strict manager, but a very kind man, and I was honoured to see him again a few years ago, and he remembered me, even after 20 plus years.
    RIP John.

  2. It was a pleasure working with John he was very dedicated to badminton, I remember our first meeting in Milton Keynes in a pub to form the association. John just asked for volunteers for the Secretary, Keith Lindsay. Treasurer Margaret Redfern and John was the Chairman that was the start of our association, The bank account was opened with 38 members paying £5 on 26th February 1996.
    So thank you John for your dedication which has been passed on to us to keep the association going from strength to strength. A dear friend . RIP

  3. I first met Dr. John Alexander when he selected me to attend the All England Championships probably 2010. He was well known for his lengthy, thorough briefings.
    I also remember him for being for kind and genuine.

  4. Marilyn Bray Marilyn Bray says:

    I met John through my late husband Allan, who was a member of John’s line judging team when I was volunteering as a steward. John needed somebody to help with getting game numbers and nameboards prepared for the line judges to take on to court with them, this was before the days of digital scoreboards, so I changed allegiance! Thoroughly enjoyed working with John at the All England and also once at Lancashire County championships at Ribby Hall. His dedication to badminton was remarkable. I remember one time at the AE, on the Saturday morning John went back to Manchester to sort out a problem we were having with the scoring cubes – long-standing members will know what I mean! He was back and we were up and running in time for the semi-finals. He also made the players’ name-boards mentioned above, with the router he used to cut them sharing his “office” at the NIA with all the paraphernalia he brought with him to make the team work. He even let me use his laptop, which at the time was a great privilege as there weren’t very many of them about. Thank you John for making my All England experiences so enjoyable and for your kindness to me over the years.

  5. Anne Spencer Anne Spencer says:

    Anne Spencer 26/03/2021..
    I met John in 1982 when he took over the job of Manageer of Line judges. He was a very clever shy guy who was, as others also say , dedicated to the sport. I worked as a score board operator , then a line judge and then as a court steward until I decided it was time to retire in about 2014. .

    When the BLJA was formed I became one of the original committee members and during the passing years many changes for the better came about many of which were down to Johns quiet efforts behind the scenes!

    Thank you John for your contribution to Badminton – I’ll miss my Christmas cards from you!!
    God go with you – rest in peace .

  6. Mavis Bryan Mavis Bryan says:

    Mavis Bryan
    I first met John at the 1993 World Championships in Birmingham. I had been recruited in a hotel swimming pool by Geoff Rofe who asked if I had volunteered, I asked what they needed, the reply was “We really need line judges and I have seen you line judge at friendly internationals”. An hour later John Gowers stuck a volunteer form in my hand and much to my surprise I was accepted. First day and I was so nervous, everyone else seemed to be very experienced – I had visions of doing everything wrong. Dr John was so kind and that was the start of our friendship. This was a true friendship; we didn’t always agree but we could respect each other’s point of view. John had a lovely sense of humour and a very generous nature. John’s dedication to Badminton was fantastic and untiring. R.I.P.

  7. says:

    I first met John at Wembley in the early 90’s and had a first taste of officiating as a scoreboard operator then as a Line Judge. I will always remember as Marilyn has said, John would be responsible for making the name boards and sticking them on with Blue Tack. On the funny side, sometimes during a match one of the name boards would come unstuck and drop off and have to be refitted.

    As Suzanne has mentioned John will also be remembered for his extensive LJ briefings with sometimes most of the briefing being dedicated to talking about the problems with generating the name boards or other problems which gave everyone an insight how much work was going on behind the scenes.

    Johns contribution to Badminton and also giving the opportunity for many Line Judges to attend major events remains a lasting tribute to him.

    Thank You for all you done over the years for our sport. RIP John

  8. Carol Webb Carol Webb says:

    What I remember about those crazy few years working with John as our leader. The ‘tiny room’ that he had to work how he managed I do not know! His fridge(!}, blue tac, yellow score boards, and everything else besides. Getting us to stand in height order when the silverware was presented to the winners, ( in those days we could – John’s idea). His meetings so early!!. The day the key to his room got lost. (Us oldies will remember that one).
    But I always remember John would look after us, made sure that we were ok and fought our corner.
    Thanks John for everyone you did.
    Rest in peace

  9. Carol those were special memories to look back on that room was a disaster area but he knew where everything was.
    I remember cleaning up for him on many occasions BUT there was always food and drink if anyone need it.
    Also we were invited to a barbecue at John’s house one year endless food, he was special and very very clever.

  10. Carol Webb Carol Webb says:

    Yes Margaret ‘that room’ as you say memories ❤️