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 Ilford News Stories

Yesterday, 15:13
New grounds at St Andrew's Ilford,
Rev Marie Segal, with the Church committee.

For many young children, believing in Father Christmas is an essential part of the magic.

Yesterday, 12:00
Landmark locations across Redbridge. The old Wanstead Hospital building

A look back at the biggest stories of this week from 20, 40 and 60 years ago.

Saturday, December 3, 2016
Ayisha Davies-Reaz has gained a Young Citizen award nomination

A student who promotes sport and outdoor activities at Redbridge College has been nominated for the Recorder/Redbridge Rotary Club Young Citizen Award.

Saturday, December 3, 2016
Festival goers at the One Love festival

Good vibes and relaxed times are coming back to the borough next year.

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Competitions

£3,000 goes a long way at Boots

Cosmetics, toiletries, vitamins and more. Boots is the number one choice when it comes to purchasing daily essentials.

Kit yourself out and go Apple mad!

If you’re obsessed with Apple or just love a good gadget, this is a prize that will blow you away! An incredible £3,333 to spend on Apple goodies! How would you like to be the proud new owner of the Apple Watch?

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