Snooker world pays tribute as Romford great Vic Harris dies
PUBLISHED: 17:58 11 March 2015 | UPDATED: 17:58 11 March 2015
Top snooker players are today mourning the loss of legend Vic Harris, the man who discovered six-time world champion Steve Davis and many others.
The ex-pro, of Westcliffe-on-Sea, died yesterday aged 69 after a battle with pneumonia.
Vic was a much-loved figure in the Essex snooker scene, and mentored a young Steve Davis, among others, at the world-famous Romford Snooker Club in Arcade Place.
Owner Richard Willis said: “We’re sorry to hear the news, he was a man associated with the early days of snooker and even people outside of the sport know the name.”
Vic allegedly identified Davis as a future world champion when he was just 12, and also worked with Stuart Bingham, Mark King and Ronnie O’Sullivan.
He was so popular in the area that in 1994, after suffering cancer and undergoing a lung transplant, an Essex-wide league was named the Vic Harris Snooker League.
He spoke about his life in the sport in a BBC short documentary piece in 2013, when he had recently lost an ear to cancer.
He competed in the professional UK Championship in 1981, 1982, and 1987, also winning the English Amateur Championship in 1981.
Barry Hearn, who bought the snooker club in the 70s and went on to found the sports promotion empire Matchroom, was one of many to take to Twitter to post their respects.
He wrote: “Sad news that Vic Harris died today. My heartfelt condolences to his family and friends. A great player and Romford hero who will be missed. Life is strange.
“If Vic Harris wasn’t at Romford Steve Davis wouldn’t have played there and I wouldn’t have met Steve If I hadn’t met Vic.
“Then there may have never been a matchroom and the sporting world it helped to create. Who knows how fate works RIP Vic and thanks.”
Others to pay respect included pros such as Allan Taylor, Barry Pinches and Stuart Bingham, who he coached.
The latter wrote: “Just heard the sad news, Vic Harris passed away this afternoon. Someone who helped me in my early days! Had a great innings! RIP mate.”