It is with profound sadness that England Handball announces the passing of Bill Holderness, a true visionary and the founding force behind Ruislip Eagles Handball Club, which later evolved into the esteemed West London Eagles. Bill’s remarkable journey in handball, coupled with his infectious enthusiasm, has left an indelible mark on the sport in the UK.
Bill, who battled Hodgkin’s lymphoma with unwavering courage, not only founded Ruislip Eagles Handball Club but played a pivotal role in shaping its identity and fostering a passion for handball in the region. His dedication to the sport was unparalleled, and his impact extended beyond the club, reaching the broader community of England Handball.
A multifaceted contributor to handball’s growth, Bill wasn’t just a visionary leader but also a skilled player. In the early days of handball in Great Britain, he stood as a goalkeeper for the national team, embodying his commitment to the sport both on and off the field.
Under Bill’s coaching guidance, the Ruislip Eagles Women’s team achieved unprecedented success, reaching the second round of the European Cup and etching their name in history as the first team in the UK to do so. This accomplishment showcased Bill’s ability to inspire and cultivate talent, leaving a lasting legacy for the players and the club.
Bill’s influence extended to the international stage as he coached the Great Britain Women’s team for several years, leading them to the World Championships in Spain. His dedication and leadership were instrumental in shaping the trajectory of handball at a national level.
Last year, West London Eagles celebrated its 50th anniversary, and Bill Holderness was present at the reunion in London. During this memorable event, the club honoured him with an award, recognizing his enduring contributions to the club and the sport.
As a member of England Handball, Bill’s passion, commitment, and infectious sense of fun endeared him to everyone who had the privilege of knowing him. His legacy lives on through the thriving West London Eagles and the broader handball community.
In accordance with Bill’s wishes, there will be private ceremony for his immediate family. England Handball extends heartfelt condolences to Bill’s family, friends, and the entire handball community. In remembrance of this handball pioneer, we invite individuals to share their cherished memories of Bill, creating a collective tribute to a man who shaped the landscape of handball in the UK.