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

09:00
Redbridge Town Hall. Picture: Redbridge Council

Community officers are set to continue their work helping to tackle issues such as anti-social behaviour.

Yesterday, 19:00
Marjorie Tappenden

A pensioner who killed a cyclist was sentenced to a community order today and suspended from driving for three years.

Yesterday, 17:28
Dr Dhanuson Dharmasena

A mother who allegedly had female genital mutilation performed on her by a Clayhall doctor has condemned the practice while giving evidence in court.

Yesterday, 13:49
1964: Sir Winston Churchill, smoking his trademark cigar,  leaves his London home for House of Commons for perhaps last time. Picture: PA

The life of one of Britain’s most famous prime ministers is being celebrated today, exactly 50 years on from his funeral.

Most read news

People thought the Deputy Prime Minister was pretty funny actually.

Brothers: The David Haines Story, will be broadcast on BBC Radio Scotland at 10.30am on Sunday.

Over £30,000 has been raised in a couple of days for a mugging victim, despite the goal only being set at £500.

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Ilford Recorder e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24
Our trusted business finder