Loss of a true Wilmslow hero

by Tony

With great sadness Wilmslow Lacrosse Club (WLC) share the news that past WLC president Raj Kapoor died peacefully at home with his daughter and son by his side on Thursday the 1st, April 2021. He was one day shy of his 87th, Birthday.

Raj, pictured second from right, was instrumental in solidifying the youth development of WLC, and bringing a more commercial, professional, and entertaining approach to the day to day running of the Club as a whole.

Raj became involved when his son Kevin started playing lacrosse in 1987; Kevin being recruited through the Local Development Officer (LDO) scheme at Wilmslow High School. Raj offered to help with his son’s first organised game. After watching the game and seeing the young men wearing hand-me-down club shirts and a mismatch of other attire, he set to task and two weeks later the team turned out in brand new sponsored shirts, shorts, and socks!

Raj owned and ran a printing and stationery business in Manchester, traded with Japan, India, Shri Lanka, China, Russia, throughout Europe and the Americas, was part owner of Gaylords – the first licenced Indian restaurant in central Manchester – and was well connected, liked, and trusted throughout the North West business community and beyond. He was incredibly kind and generous; after you shook hands with Raj you’d find a new watch on your wrist as opposed to checking to see if you still had one…

Mindful that clubs need money to help lubricate their cogs Raj set about organising various fund-raising activities and events. A series of such events was the phenomenal ‘Sunday Night Curry’ held at Gaylords. One might think that a Sunday evening event would not be well attended; the first evening drew a crowd of over 60, the second he had to set up a special table in reception. With over 100 people enjoying fantastic food, raffles, competitions and a great atmosphere, word spread, and every evening was pretty much sold out as soon as announced. Thousands of pounds were raised during the many meals ensuring WLC had funds to grow and succeed.

Impressed with the LDO scheme, which Kevin and many others had enjoyed, Raj took over the management and sponsorship of the Wilmslow LDO’s for a many years and new officers came annually. (Early officers pictured with Raj at the 1992 Vail Lacrosse Tournament in Colorado, USA with son Kevin on the left, from left to right – Lance Savage LDO 1988 (Hobart University, Elder Statesmen), Mark Hodkin LDO 1987 (Cheshire Under 15’s, UMBC), Raj, and Scotty Burnam LDO 1989 (Cornell University, Iroquois National Team).

Not satisfied with driving the young men and seniors to success, and the club becoming financially stable, Raj and family took on the mantle of managing the newly established young women’s section. Organising practices, travel, games, funding, entertainment and refreshments, this women’s section flourished and, with Raj’s guidance, won the Hatterleys Vase five years in a row.

For many years Raj brought energy, enthusiasm, commercial acumen, diligence, and professionalism to WLC but most of all will be remembered for all the fun, camaraderie and love he generated.

Wilmslow Lacrosse Club sends heartfelt condolences to his daughter Paula, to Kevin, and the whole of the extensive Kapoor family. We are saddened by his death but will celebrate his life for many years to come.

WLC contact via email please to: mahodkin@netscape.net