Search

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

11:01 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 News Stories

Yesterday, 18:31

As fireworks and sparklers light up the skies above Redbridge, residents are being urged to be extra careful during another Fire Brigade Union strike.

Yesterday, 13:51
Pupils sitting an exam. Picture: PA/David Jones

Redbridge is home to some of the country’s brightest pupils with more than three quarters achieving five or more A* to C GCSE grades according to new figures.

Yesterday, 11:30
Planned engineering work could affect your journey this weekend.

There is a relatively minor programme of planned closures on the Tube and Overground network this weekend - but they could still affect your journey. Read on for the lowdown.

Yesterday, 09:37
Survivor of the Trilokpuri killings in East Delhi - a photo from the 1984 Anti-Sikh Pogroms Remembered exhibition at the Wiener Library in Russell Square. Photo: Ram Rahman

WARNING: The image on this page contains graphic content.

Most read news

“Space is hard and today was a tough day.”

One pilot is dead and another seriously injured after the craft exploded over the Mojave desert.

One pilot has died and another is seriously injured after a rocket belonging to billionaire Sir Richard Branson’s space tourism venture crashed during a test flight. Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo rocket came down in the Mojave Desert in California. An eyewitness reported that the craft exploded in flight after ignition. A Virgin Galactic spokesman said the […]

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Ilford Recorder e-edition today E-edition