Inducted April 24, 1976
George W.B. Ayre was born at St. John’s in 1874. He was educated at Bishop Feild College and in England. He received his degree of Bachelor of Laws at Dalhousie University, Halifax, at the turn of the present century, and later entered the legal profession in his native city.
While at school, George became actively involved in athletics, both as a player and a mentor. He played with the Feildian inter-collegiate teams, excelling as a cricketer and footballer. Later in life he captained the C.E.I. football teams, a powerful aggregation which dominated the senior league early in the present century.
But it was as a sports organizer that he really shone. A very personable man and a born leader, he was ever ready to encourage and lend assistance to every branch of athletic endeavour. When his playing days were over, he organized a group known as the Old Boys Association made up of former athletes who gave guidance and encouragement to youth to actively involve themselves in sports. We find that he was the motivating force behind the organization of Sports Days on St. George’s Field. Research discloses that George Ayre was linked with every competitive sport played in St. John’s over a period of thirty years. Solely through his efforts, St. George’s Day was made an annual whole holiday. Long before a Hall of Fame was ever heard of, George Ayre brought together, at an annual banquet, representatives of every sport played in Newfoundland. He was responsible for suggesting to Sir Cavendish Boyle, a former Governor of Newfoundland, the idea of donating the Boyle challenge cup for Senior Hockey league competition. In 1904, Ayre was to head the Terra Nova organization, whose team recorded the first win on the Boyle trophy.
George Ayre was furthermore responsible for creating renewed interest in track and field events in the early 1920’s. He was the prime mover in sending long-distance runner Jack Bell to Halifax. That was considered a giant step at that time. It was tantamount to international exposure. Emboldened by Bell’s success in placing second in the Halifax Marathon, George Ayre was the motivating force which saw a team of Newfoundland track men represent Newfoundland at the Wanderers’ sports in 1921. The team covered itself with glory. For sheer organizing ability, enthusiasm, and a deep sense of dedicated involvement with every known sport played in Newfoundland, sportsmen can rest serene in the knowledge that there has never been anybody quite to equal George W.B. Ayre.