Vera Selby MBE (née Danby; 13 March 1930 – 13 March 2023) was an English snooker and billiards player who won multiple women's world titles in both sports. She won the inaugural World Women's Snooker Championship in 1976 and won the title for a second time in 1981; she also won eight World Women's Billiards Championships from 1970 to 1978. A commentator for the BBC's televised snooker coverage, most notably at the 1982 World Snooker Championship, she was also a qualified referee and coach.
|Born||13 March 1930|
Richmond, North Yorkshire, England
|Died||13 March 2023(aged 93)|
Remembered as a pioneering figure in women's cue sports, Selby received an MBE in the 2015 Birthday Honours for her services to snooker and billiards.
Selby was introduced to billiards as a six-year-old, as her uncle had a table in the cellar of his home in Newcastle. When she was 36, former British amateur billiards and snooker champion Alf Nolan saw her playing with her husband at the Coxlodge Club in Newcastle and started coaching her. She won eight World Women's Billiards Championships from 1970 to 1978.
In 1976, she became the inaugural winner of the World Women's Snooker Championship, claiming the title by beating Muriel Hazeldine 4–0 in the final. She won her second women's world snooker title in 1981 by defeating Mandy Fisher 3–0 in the final. At 51, her success made her the oldest female world champion in any sport.
A commentator for televised snooker, she was part of the BBC commentary team for the 1982 World Snooker Championship at the Crucible Theatre, at which Alex Higgins won his second world title. She was a qualified referee and coach, and chaired the North East Billiards and Snooker Association. She won a lifetime achievement award for her services to billiards in 2014.
In the 2015 Birthday Honours, she was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) "for services to Snooker and Billiards." She received her MBE from Prince Charles (now Charles III) at Buckingham Palace. At age 85, she was still playing cue sports regularly.
Vera Danby was born in Richmond, North Yorkshire, where her father was manager of the Freeman, Hardy and Willis shop. She studied art and design at Leeds University. In her mid-20s, she met Bruce Selby, a hairdresser from Newcastle, who was 28 years her senior. They married two years later.
She worked as a senior art, textile, and dress designer lecturer at the former Newcastle Polytechnic. She took early retirement at 53.
In 2009, she became the Master of the 400-year-old Fellmongers' Guild in Richmond, the first female Master in its history.
Selby died on 13 March 2023, her 93rd birthday. Professional player Shaun Murphy paid tribute, calling her "one of the pioneers of women's snooker and an early trailblazer for girls and women who followed".
Titles and achievementsEdit
|Winner||1||1972||National Women's Snooker Championship|||
|Winner||2||1973||National Women's Snooker Championship|||
|Winner||3||1974||National Women's Snooker Championship|||
|Winner||4||1975||National Women's Snooker Championship|||
|Winner||5||1976||Women's World Open Championship||Muriel Hazeldene||4–0|||
|Winner||6||1979||National Women's Snooker Championship|||
|Winner||7||1981||Women's World Open Championship||Mandy Fisher||3–0|||
|Winner||1||1970||World Women's Billiards Championship|||
|Winner||2||1971||World Women's Billiards Championship||Rae Craven||506–304|||
|Winner||3||1972||World Women's Billiards Championship|||
|Winner||4||1973||World Women's Billiards Championship|||
|Winner||5||1974||World Women's Billiards Championship||Thea Hindmarch|||
|Winner||6||1976[a]||World Women's Billiards Championship||Rae Craven||407–157|||
|Winner||7||1977||World Women's Billiards Championship|||
|Winner||8||1978||World Women's Billiards Championship||Maureen Baynton||366–319|||
|Runner-up||9||1979||World Women's Billiards Championship||Maureen Baynton|||
- ^ There was no contest in 1975
- ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Birthdays – Court & Social". The Times. 12 March 2001 – via NewsBank.
- ^ a b c d e Amos, Mike (6 July 2004). "Cueing up to listen to first lady of snooker". Durham County Publications (England) – via NewsBank.
- ^ a b "Pocket dynamo". The Northern Echo. Retrieved 15 March 2023.
- ^ a b "Vera Selby MBE Passes Away". World Women's Snooker. 14 March 2023. Retrieved 15 March 2023.
- ^ History Archived 24 April 2019 at the Wayback Machine Women's World Snooker. Retrieved 21 July 2019.
- ^ World Champions Archived 18 August 2019 at the Wayback Machine Women's World Snooker. Retrieved 21 July 2019.
- ^ "'Pioneer of women's snooker' Selby dies". BBC Sport. Retrieved 16 March 2023.
- ^ a b Amos, Mike (27 November 2014). "Green Party". Northern Echo. Archived from the original on 20 July 2019. Retrieved 21 July 2019.
- ^ United Kingdom: "No. 61256". The London Gazette (Supplement). 12 June 2015. p. B24.
- ^ a b Ough, Tom (13 February 2016). "85-year-old snooker champion Vera Selby reveals longevity secret as she earns MBE". ChronicleLive. Archived from the original on 20 July 2019. Retrieved 20 July 2019.
- ^ Lloyd, Chris (28 July 2017). "In recent weeks in this space, we've become fascinated by the distinctive red brick building on the corner of Finkle Street". Darlington and Stockton Times. Retrieved 16 March 2023.
- ^ a b Meetings Archive 2012 Archived 20 July 2019 at the Wayback Machine Soroptomist International. Retrieved 21 July 2019.
- ^ "Vera Selby MBE Passes Away". WST. 14 March 2023. Archived from the original on 14 March 2023. Retrieved 14 March 2023.
- ^ "Shaun Murphy leads Vera Selby tributes after death of first women's world champion – 'A pioneer of women's snooker'". www.eurosport.com. Retrieved 15 March 2023.
- ^ a b c d e Morrison, Ian (1987). The Hamlyn Encyclopedia of Snooker. Twickenham: Hamlyn Publishing Group. p. 120. ISBN 0600556042.
- ^ a b Everton, Clive (1985). Guinness Snooker: The Records. Enfield: Guinness Superlatives Ltd. p. 154. ISBN 0851124488.
- ^ a b c d e f g h i World Ladies Billiards Champions Archived 19 January 2018 at the Wayback Machine World Billiards. Retrieved 28 July 2019.
- Reanne Evans and Vera Selby on Ladies Day (2016) YouTube video.