Chess champion was one of life’s artistes’

A MUCH loved Hampstead man and chess champion has died peacefully at the age of 92

A MUCH loved Hampstead man and chess champion has died peacefully at the age of 92.

Charles William Broad, who lived in the Chalford flats on Finchley Road, had spent the last two years at the Spring Grove retirement home and died at the Royal Free Hospital on April 30.

"He was one of that rare breed one might call a 'life's artiste' or home-grown philosopher," said his son - musician Charles Robin Broad - this week.

Mr Broad was born in Southwark in 1916 and trained as a printer.

His reaction to events in the 1930s prompted him to join the Young Communist League in 1938 and he soon found himself in trouble with the police because of political activities.

He volunteered for the army at the start of World War Two and advanced to the rank of bombardier in the Royal Artillery. Whilst in the north of England he met his wife Margaret Robertson - known as Marnas - and they were married in Scotland, in 1942.

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After the war Mr Broad resumed his profession as a printer and worked for engraving firms in Woking and Reading before joining an engraver working for various newspapers on Fleet Street.

With the advent of computerised print, he became redundant at the age of 54 and retrained as a clerk for the Royal Mail. He worked at the head office near St Paul's until he retired at 65.

However, not wishing to stop work completely, he took a job as a courier and 'go-between' for a theatrical agency in the West End, delivering messages and box-office information well into his 70s.

Mr Broad was an avid chess player and belonged to Hampstead Chess Club while he lived on the Finchley Road, becoming champion in local tournaments and picking up medals and cups. A well-read collector of books, he and his wife won the Times crossword competition several times.

"As a great letter writer, particularly during the war years, his oeuvre in this sphere - along with the letters to his wife and children over the years - could easily be developed into several epistolary novels," said his son, who lives in Germany.

Other interests included music, particularly Beethoven, Shakes-peare and the National Theatre.

He is survived by his wife Margaret, son Charles Robin and daughter Jennifer Margaret May.

A non-religious ceremony was held in his honour at Golders Green crematorium last Friday.

A fund has also been set up in his memory to help students carrying out benefit work in developing countries like Thailand and Mexico. Anyone wanting to donate should send a payment to the Charles William Broad Scholarship, Lloyds Bank, sort code 30-18-43, account number 00143551.