War-game enthusiasts linked to a real-life hero

IN HONOUR OF A HERO -- Eileen Elliott (left) presents the award, named after her father, George Stokes, to Mike Klaka (right), with one of the event organisers, Tim Harris, looking on.
IN HONOUR OF A HERO -- Eileen Elliott (left) presents the award, named after her father, George Stokes, to Mike Klaka (right), with one of the event organisers, Tim Harris, looking on.

Visitors from all over the world flocked to a gaming centre in Sutton to take part in a prestigious tournament.

But the most special visitor of all was a woman who linked the fantasy world of war games with a real-life war hero.

For Eileen Elliott was the daughter of a Second World War veteran, George Stokes, after whom one of the main awards at the tournament was named.

It also emerged that George, who died in 1990, was married at the very church, St Michael’s and All Angels, on Outram Street where the gaming centre, named Sanctuary, is based.

Sanctuary, which opened in October 2013, is a haven for enthusiasts who enjoy playing tabletop games and board games and has fast become the talk of the gaming community.

The tournament, staged over the weekend of 18th and 19th April, focused on a World War Two miniature game, called Flames Of War, and was regarded as the biggest tournament of its kind in Europe.

The George Stokes Award, previously known as the Valour award, was given to a player who had done a good deed during a game. “So when Eileen was announced as the person to present it, there were a few tears in the house and long, rapturous applause,” said Sanctuary chief Richard Lacey.

“She was accompanied by family members and also her son who took part in the tournament. The award was presented to Mike Klaka.”

George Stokes was born in Stanton Hill in 1915 and went on to be an electrician at Silverhill Colliery.

He joined the Royal Engineers and served during the war in Italy before contracting diphtheria.

In 2006, Eileen and her husband, retired police inspector John Elliott, made an emotional journey to Italy to visit the former Army hospital where their father was treated for nearly two years.