New trophy is a fitting tribute

Balink-White
Balink-White

A NEW cup has honoured the memory of a Bognor Regis school pupil who combined wartime bravery and film and TV roles.

The trophy has been presented by the family of the late Commander Philip Arthur Balink-White for the player who makes a significant contribution to the football team at St Mary’s Catholic Primary School each year.

Cdr Balink-White’s daughters – Penny Bloxham and Jenny Harrison – attended the school along with a friend of the late commander, Captain Pete Lucas and his wife Xenia, for the presentation.

Goalkeeper Troy Spencer was the first player to receive the cup. The 11-year-old, who now attends The Regis School, said: “I’m really proud and happy with myself for winning the trophy.

“I played in goal for St Mary’s for two years. It was hard but good and I’m trying to work hard to play for my new school as well.”

Jenny said: “I can’t think of a better way to keep the memory of our father alive than to present this trophy to Troy.

“It’s a great achievement. Our father worked hard to get on in life and it all started here.”

Cdr Balink-White was born in Hawthorn Road into a family of fishermen in 1920. He was among the first pupils at St Mary’s when it opened in 1927 and stayed until the school leaving age of 14.

He played in goal for the school football team and recalled being busy on the pitch. In one game, the goalposts fell on him.

He initially fished with his father but joined the Royal Navy at 18. The Second World War began a year later and he was an ordinary seaman aboard the Royal Oak when it was sunk in 1939.

He soon joined the cruiser Aurora and served around Europe.

He later specialised in mine clearance and his team disposed of some 2,700 mines in three years after the war.

His naval career also included appearances in the films Above Us The Waves (1955) and The Silent Enemy (1958).

He was awarded the MBE in 1957 for his military service. He resumed his film work in the late 1970s when he was living in Hawaii with his wife when he was recruited for 18 episodes of Hawaii Five-O, the pilot of Magnum PI and many TV and radio commercials.

Cpt Lucas said: “Philip was grateful to St Mary’s. He learnt to always continue learning and to take an interest in everything around you.

“He also learnt to do the best in whatever you do and to take pride in doing it.”

Cdr Balink-White died, aged 92, on June 5 in Penascola, Florida. He is survived by his wife and two daughters.