ONE of the country’s all-time great snooker players – Willie Thorne – was the star attraction at Branston Golf & Country Club’s captain’s farewell dinner last Friday at the Pavilion.
Outgoing Burton-born skipper Philip Gill, 57, was treated to some of the former Championship finalist’s finest anecdotes, and also delivered his own thoughts on his time as captain.
Setting the seal on a memorable year of golf to more than 100 diners at the black tie do at Branston’s Pavilion, he recounted many examples of his great days, including the infamous fancy dress drive in, where he was upstaged by the Seven Dwarfs, and golf days in glorious weather on a much improving course.
Gill drew special attention to the club’s annual match with Glashofen in Germany and to his captain’s challenge – cycling the 160 miles coast to coast from Whitehaven to Tynemouth.
“Branston is so much more than a first class Golf Club, it’s a way of life” he said.
“The pinnacle of my year must be the astonishing ‘Strictly Come Dancing – Branston on Tour’ social events, which raised over £11,000 for the Burton Breast Care Fund, our charity for the year.
“Both of these were packed to the doors and, thanks to organisers Linda Odell and John Moore, were probably the best events in years at this splendid club.
“Together with the £6,000 raised on my coast to coast ride I’m immensely proud that we’ve pulled in so much money this year for this local charity.
“We will announce the total raised at our AGM on February 16.”
Looking to the future of golf, Gill drew special attention to the club’s thriving junior section, where many youngsters have seen their golf improve beyond expectations and awarded the prestigious clubman of the year trophy to Steve Install in recognition of that.
“It takes a lot of patience and understanding to keep juniors focused, and for the last three years, Steve has been the unofficial godfather of our juniors – guiding, coaching and attending home and away matches,” said Gill.
“His dedication has made the junior section what it is today.”