A tribute to David

TO wife Jean, daughters Denice, Steph and stepdaughter Clare, Golf North East would like to take this opportunity to offer our deepest sympathy at the sudden loss of your husband and father David Atkinson.

It is always difficult to write a eulogy with all the different stories and memories and to be honest; I could have probably filled up a couple of pages of the Daily Telegraph. Following a private meeting with Jean, president Geoff Cook, secretary Vince Kelly and personal friends Ted and Audrey Kirtley at Consett Golf Club, Golf North East would like to devote this editorial to his life and work ...

David was a dedicated golfer who loved his club and would do anything he could to ensure that Consett Golf Club remained one of the best venues in the North East of England.

He joined Consett in 1949, 60 years ago and since then he has won many titles before becoming one of the pivotal figures in County Durham Golf.

In brief, David represented County Durham on 37 occasions, he was Consett club champion on 10 occasions and Hexham club champion on three occasions, a member of Consett's 1971 Durham Club Championship and Clark Cup winning team and with Harry Ashby in 1974, he won the Inter- County Foursomes.

But following his playing days, David has literally buried his time in the administration and organization of golf within County Durham. In 1982 he was appointed as Captain of Consett Golf Club and joined the Durham County Golf Union (DCGU) executive in 1985.

He was appointed as the DCGU Captain in 1992, a post he held for four years before becoming President in 1997.

As he approached retirement from work, in 2002 David became the Durham County representitive on the EGU Committee, a position he held for seven years and joining the EGU Property Board just a few months ago. He was Captain of the Society of Durham Golf Captains in 2005 and from that year, the current Club Chairman and Vice-President of Consett Golf Club. David was also the Chairman of the centenary committee with Consett fast approaching 100 years in 2011.

But to be honest, what can you say about this guy?

It can be summed up very quickly by Vince from Consett, who said: "David was the right hand man round here, he and Robin Gates put in the foundations and the fencing down to the first tee, but to be honest all the bits and pieces I would have had to do, he took responsibility for and made sure the job was done - he has literally been 'Mr Fix It'."

President Geoff added: "He was Mr. Consett Golf Club; even the new sign at the entrance was down to him. Over the years we have some lovely stories but at the end of the day, David's life revolved around Consett Golf Club and he spent every available minute doing what he could for the benefit of the club.

One of Jean's favourite moments was on getting a double discount for the half way house, she said: "We went to a local store and David selected a set of table and chairs. He asked what discount could we have and intimated that it was the beginning of the season and the club would be looking to spend a lot more money.

"They eventually gave us 10% off then David pulled the three card trick and produced his pensioner card, insisting on an additional 10% - he got it and saved the club money."

Ted, president of the DCGU in 2005-06, said: "What personally comes out of this is that David would do anything for you. Yes, he had a knee operation last year but he has continued to get on with his life and I have to boast his claim to fame - his birthday and time of birth was exactly the same as Sir Paul McCartney."

Geoff recalls taking David to Loch Lomond where he managed to lose eight balls. He said: "David was like the red arrows, all over the place. He was never a player to take a three-wood out and was always flat out with every shot - he never forgot that day."

But how will Consett cope without David?

Geoff concluded: "With great difficulty - it really hasn't sunk in yet. Okay, we have put people into different places to handle things but when you want something done, who will take responsibility. And the golf club will never know how much money he saved the club with all the work he has done here - he was such a great man."

David will be a big miss to both Consett Golf Club and Durham County Golf Union and his efforts will leave a legacy that will remain for a very long time.


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