Alan Little MBE, Honorary Librarian of the AELTC, passed away on Wednesday 11 October 2017. He was 89 years old.
Having first played tennis and table tennis at school, Alan attended The Championships for the first time in 1946, the first meeting after the Second World War. He missed the 1947 Championships because he was on National Service, but then attended each year from 1948 to 2017.
A collector of books from his schooldays, Alan became a lawn tennis writer, and was a contributor and sometime editor of Lawn Tennis and Badminton magazine during the 1960s. In 1967 he wrote an article in the magazine suggesting a Library and Museum should be built at the AELTC.
In 1976, prior to the opening of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum in 1977, the Museum Committee sought 20 books to display in the Victorian Parlour showcase. Tom Todd, one of the Museum’s founders, suggested that Alan was the person to ask, and he was subsequently invited by Ted Avory to consider setting up the Library as part of the Museum. This was opened in 1977 by the Duke of Kent as the Kenneth Ritchie Wimbledon Library alongside the new Museum. Alan became the Honorary Librarian.
When Alan retired from BT in the 1980s, he began attending the Library twice a week. During this time he developed the Library collections to number more than 6,000 books, answered thousands of enquiries and wrote 35 books, including the fabled Wimbledon Compendium, which he compiled for 27 years.
In recognition of his dedication to the Library, Alan was made an Honorary Member of the AELTC in 1985 and was awarded an MBE for services to tennis in 2014. In 2017 he was presented with the Distinguished Service Award by the AELTC in recognition of his 40 years of service to the Library.
There was hardly a thing that Alan didn’t know about The Championships, Wimbledon and its history. He was an encyclopaedia, a mentor, and an inspiration. He will be sorely missed.