Search

Greenkeeper retires after 43-year-career tending the fairways and greens of Woodford Golf Club

PUBLISHED: 11:01 20 March 2013 | UPDATED: 11:04 20 March 2013

Stuart Runciman (right) with his assistant Steve Thorogood

Stuart Runciman (right) with his assistant Steve Thorogood

Archant

A nature-lover, talented artist and one of the last people to see boxer Rocky Marciano alive retired from his job as Woodford Golf Club’s head greenkeeper today.

Stuart Runciman has called time on a 43-year career tending the fairways and greens of the club in Sunset Avenue on the same day he celebrates his 65th birthday. He trained as an artist, winning travelling scholarships from the Royal Society of Arts, but a newspaper advert brought him to the nine-hole course, set in Epping Forest, land in 1970.

Working with nature had been the most enjoyable part of his job, said Stuart.

Speaking about his retirement, he added: “I’ve had lots of time to think about it. I’m 65 and it’s time to think about doing other things.”

Stuart started out as the assistant greenkeeper, when the course was in “much worse shape than it is now”, according to current club captain John Michael Wade.

And during a heatwave in the summer of 1976, Stuart had to deal with frequent fires.

He said: “Everything was scorched and burnt to smithereens. I never thought we’d get it back to looking like it did. It took two or three years and it looked right again.”

He put his drawing talents to good use, drawing caricatures of 22 club members for a centenary brochure in 1990.

And his RSA bursary took him to America in 1969, where the Italian-American family he was staying with also had heavyweight boxer Marciano as a guest.

Stuart had his photo taken with the boxer before he and the family saw Marciano off at a Californian airport, on the fateful flight which was downed, killing the undefeated champion.

Stuart, of North Chingford, will still visit the club three days a week to help out and is looking forward to seeing more of London.

He said: “I’ve got the Freedom Pass but I’ve hardly used it.”

Mr Wade said: “Stuart has been a huge asset to the club for decades.”

0 comments

Latest Ilford News Stories

Yesterday, 10:00

If you’re wondering what the weather has in store for us this weekend why not watch our three-minute Met Office update on whether we’re getting rain or sunshine?

Fri, 18:00

With well maintained beards and a penchant for cocktails in jars East London is known for setting trends, but the recent rise in acid attacks is not one to be proud of.

Fri, 14:58

Top students at Redbridge College enjoyed a night of red carpet treatment as their academic achievements were highlighted at their annual student awards evening.

Fri, 14:29

A care home in Wanstead is to close temporarily to allow the old building to be entirely redeveloped to provide a complete care experience for Redbridge’s elderly residents.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read news

Show Job Lists

Competitions

Having a brand new kitchen is something that lots of people want but can only dream of. Sadly keeping up to date and making our living spaces as nice as they can be is a costly and incredibly stressful business. Even a fresh coat of paint makes all the difference but isn’t easy or quick.

Who wouldn’t love the chance to go on a shopping spree. Imagine being able to walk into a shop and choose whatever your heart desires without having to worry about how much it costs.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Ilford Recorder
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now