The Marquis de Amodio Fund
In 2004, OUFC was proud to announce the establishment of a fund in memory of its grand patron the Marquis de Amodio (1909-2003). The Marquis became captain of the OUFC in 1932 and also established a second team to the Blues that became to be know as the Assassins’ which now form an integral part of the Varsity games. In his long life the Marquis regularly attended the yearly meetings of the Old Blues. Every year we honour his memory, as well as that of all our past members, by awarding, at the end of the Old Blues Match, The Amodio Cup. This trophy is awarded to the Assassin who contributed most to the club in that academic year. During the same occasion we also award the Cuppers Print donated by Allan Jay, M.B.E. and Captain in 1953 to that college that won the Cuppers competition.
The Marquis de Amodio was the generous benefactor of a gift which will be used to support fencing and its development at Oxford via the Campaign for Sport. The proposed Second Sports Hall will incorporate a purpose-built fencing salle and a martial arts dojo in the lower ground area beneath the hall. Through his gift, the Marquis has enabled us to provide a dedicated space for fencers at Oxford.
In order to perpetuate the spirit and munificence of the Marquis de Amodio we have created a fund in his memory. The aim of the fund is to enable the club to subsidise as much as possible all coaching, acquisition of new equipment, as well as competitions and entries thereof that will enable all fencers to improve their own technique and abilities as well as promote the honour of our fencing club which has been high since 1891. (history of fencing at Oxford).
With the help, support, and generosity of the Marquis’ widow, née Murray, we have been able to establish this fund, and through her recommendations to perpetuate the wishes of the Marquis as regards the promotion of sport and of all students wishing to partake in this most noble sport.
The late Marquis de Amodio was one of the greatest fencers of his generation. He was also a sportsman with a keen interest in horses and became honorary president of the “Societe des Courses Hippiques du Mansle” in the French Charente. A bold man, after his Oxford studies, the Marquis led an expedition to Lapland in the winter of 1937. The beginning of WWII meant active service for a young man who then distinguished himself in combat. In June 1944 he was among those who landed in Normandy, on 25th August he contributed to the liberation of Paris, and in September to that of Brussels. He was awarded a “Mentioned in Despatches”. In 1946 he became squadron leader and assistant to H.M.’s Air Attache to the British Embassy in Paris. During his stay in France he married Anne de la Rochefoucauld (d. 1980). In her memory the Marquis then established The Anne de Amodio Prize of the International Burgen Institut, which was awarded to young historic house owners who had restored their historic home. Cultural heritage was among the main concerns of the Marquis during his whole life. In 1958, he was among the founding members of the association “Vieilles Maison Francaises”; in 1963 he was one the three founding members of “Europa Nostra”, an international federation of associations for the protection of Europe’s cultural and natural heritage. From 1971 to 1984 he was senior vice-president of Europa Nostra, and after that he was elected honorary life vice-president. Also from 1977 to 1982 he was President of the I.B.I., the world organisation for the protection of castles and historic houses.
Not only did the Marquis study at Lincoln College he also became an Honorary Fellow thereof. There he funded the Berrow Foundation’s post graduate Scholarships which were set up to create further links between Switzerland and Great Britain, their aim is to provide not only learning, sports, unequalled opportunities for lifelong friendships and valued contacts, but also broaden its members’ outlook. Here again one can recognise the Marquis’ will to promote knowledge and the cultural and intellectual exchange among young people, while at the same time trying to preserve that past that helps us understand our history. The Marquis was among those luminaries who recognised that sport and sporting events were the best way to promote friendship among people and nations. International sporting events also enable countries and people from various cultural backgrounds to get to know each other and to build friendship and peace for the prosperity of all humankind. As a man who fought during one of the most terrible wars of the twentieth century, the Marquis had seen enough death around him to understand that wasting the youth of a nation was going to buy us freedom only for a short time. After the war all his efforts were aimed at building understanding among people, promoting sport and securing a bright future for an even brighter generation. The Marquis was a man with a keen interest in the future of research and mankind. He was a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, a Fellow of the British Interplanetary Society and Honorary Fellow of the Ancient Monuments Society. He also won the Gold medal of the “Societe d’Encouragement au Progres”. The Marquis also contributed greatly to politics, security, and the building of post-war Europe as founder-chairman, in 1952, of the Royal Air Forces Association’s European Area Council (E.A.C.); in 1967, he became President of the E.A.C. and, in 1991, he was elected Life President of the E.A.C. In 1962, he was elected life Vice-President of the Royal Air Forces Association His services were recognised and rewarded with presitgious honours: in 1945 he became an officer of the French Legion of Honour (military), in 1962 followed an O.B.E and then a C.B.E. in 1996. The Marquis was also Knight Commander of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre, and Gold Grand Cross of Merit of the Order; and Commander of the Yugoslavian Royal Order of the White Eagle, with Swords. We honour the late Marquis’ memory and immense contributions to the OUFC and fencing as a whole, and hope that his example and career may inspire others to achieve as much and more.
Last updated 16 July 2006. Compiled by Michael Burtscher (OUFC Treasurer 2003-2004)