George Duncan (16th September 1883 to 15th January 1964)

 

Being a bit of a geek about graves (I was the first person to take “The Oxford Book Of Death” out of Tameside Library) my eyes immediately seized on the words “restored grave” in an article in The Manchester Evening News. Two police officers had been called to a scene and stumbled on this grave and restored it.

 

I read the grave was in Knutsford – not far from home so I went (in autumn/winter looking at the bare trees.) The police been called out to a quiet village as lot of kids were hanging round the cemetery. They went to investigate and moved the kids on. By chance the happened upon the grave of a George Duncan, professional golfer. He won The Open Championship in 1920 at Kent and represented Great Britain in the Ryder Cup in 1927, 1929 and 1931. Sport drives me to sleep but I thought this chap must have been pretty good to win these cups.

 

He was no local though - born in Methlick, Aberdeenshire and his first job was training to be become a carpenter. He must have been adept with balls as he had the chance to become a professional footballer or golfer and chose the latter. He was a bit of whirlwind on the course, a fast player. In the time many golfers take to actually hit the ball you could go for a veggie burger and chips but George simply walked to his ball, fell into a stance then struck the ball. He considered practice swings unnecessary.

 

Little is known about him but he died in Leeds and lies here in a quiet sleep village in Cheshire (near Tatton Park.) I’m surprised his grave lay unloved and overgrown for so long as it’s close the main gate. The policemen who stumbled upon it (PC Mike Dawber and PC Roger Holt) asked Reverend Philip Robinson of St Mary’s if they could tidy up the grave. He readily agreed as, so far as he knew, the golfer had no surviving family members and he’d never known anyone visit the headstone.

 

George died aged 80 in Leeds - quite some distance away - but he was probably laid to rest here as he was the golf coach for 28 years at Mere Golf and Country Club which just across the water. He lies here with this daughter.

 

The church is in a village so sleepy I wondered where the Sat-Nav lady was taking me. When I parked up and had a sandwich and a coffee listening to Lionel Ritchie with the windows down I actually saw a curtain twitch to one side. The nearby houses and cottages were picturesque and expensive. I got the feeling I was watched all the time I was walking round the place.

 

I had a look around the cemetery and although the atmosphere was dragged down by its deathly purpose it was buoyed up by the sky carrying joyous birdsong. On the subject of birds I saw a young man walking round with binoculars and he kept peering into trees. He was a bit of a twitcher geek and I liked him (twitchers are usually 60+). I got chatting to him and he was very posh. He worked nearby and visited the cemetery often to spot birds. He told me to go up around the rear of the church to look out across the mere which attracted the birds. I guessed he escape from his job most days as chatting with Kevin and Trevor about Yamaha motorbikes, Man City and foggy pub-crawl sessions wasn’t his thing.

                                                                                                                       

George’s is seen here…

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p_0OmQ7q4n8

 

 

 

 

The cops who found the grave then tidied it up…

 

 

Well done finding the grave, cops (the one on the left…you can smile if you want)…

 

Birds guarding the graves…

 

The mere seen from the back of the church…