A figure synonymous with Tinsley Green and the marbles championships was George ‘Pop’ Maynard, captain of the Copthorne Spitfires. ‘Pop’ was born in Smallfields just over the Surry border but it was not long after that his family moved to Copthorne, where he remained for the rest of his long life. He first gained national recognition in 1948 when the Copthorne Spitfires won the team event and ‘Pop’ appeared on TV. He was also a well-known folk-singer and was recorded by the BBC. Some of his songs can be heard on a Topic record.
‘Pop’ was 82 years old when he first flew and it was with George Burbridge and the Tinsley Tigers to Le Touquet, France. They were guest of the Mayor and Corporation of the town and gave exhibitions of marbles in the town and on the beach. A year later in 1955 he opened a marbles ring at Jordans, in the London Road; he did it by dropping a marble into the ring from a three seater Bell helicopter.
In his latter years ‘Pop’ suffered with arthritis in his hand but he could still knock the last marble from the ring right up to the end. He died in 1962 at the age of 90.