The Goldthorpe Salver
STEVE SUTCLIFFE 1950-2022
Steve Sutcliffe was an integral part of the Goldthorpe Salver, from its inception to his untimely death in April 2022 at the age of 71.
"Sooty" - as he was more popularly known - had been good friends with Philip for several years, sharing many a pint at stag nights, weddings, Mabel's, Outlane Bowling Club, the Rose & Crown, and long weekends in Morfa Nefyn. When Philip died in 1981, and the idea of a golf competition in his memory was mooted, it was only natural that Steve - a long time member of Huddersfield Golf Club - should be one of the original competitors.
And when the tournament was transferred from Fixby to Silloth ten years later, it was a given that Sooty - always up for a good trip away - would be one of the 12 teeing it up on the banks of the Solway Firth.
Although his golfing powers were to wane considerably in later years, Steve had been a fine golfer in his pomp. Despite never lifting the Salver itself, he had the unique distinction of winning the Captain's Prize at Fixby twice in the same year. He was the runaway leader in the clubhouse, and a surefire winner, when the competition was curtailed by heavy rain, and then - when the committee decided in its wisdom that the event had to be replayed two weeks later - he proved his earlier display had been no flash in the pan, and won it again.
However as the years progressed, it was his off-the-course performances that would catch the eye. As photographs attest, rarely did a trip to Silloth pass without some memorable Sooty-related incident; being pulled out of his burning car after losing control just short of Abbeytown, and ending up in A&E at Carlisle General Hospital was just the most spectacular example.
Incidentally, driving was never a strong point. Memorably he once smashed his car into a rock on the beach at Morfa Nefyn, and while he repaired to the nearby Ty Coch Inn to drown his sorrows, the vehicle was swallowed by the incoming tide.
Danger also lurked whenever the Salver coincided with the Silloth Beer Festival, to which Sooty was attracted like a moth to a flame. But whatever happened thereafter (which usually involved a trip to Sasha's, Silloth's only nightspot), he remained his good-natured self. It's testament to his character - and perhaps his devilish good looks - that amongst the long-suffering staff at the Golf Hotel he was always one of the most popular visitors.
It also remains one of life's unexplained mysteries how - until he actually fell asleep - he could remember and recite the name of every hole on the course at Silloth.
"What's 6 called, Steve?" we would ask.
"Natterjack," he would reply instantly.
Never did his memory fail him.
"What's17 then, Steve?"
Despite his encyclopaedic knowledge of the course, not to mention the local hostelries, there were those who questioned the wisdom of asking Steve to take charge of the Salver when long-time organiser Chris Sampson moved to Belgium for work. As it happened, the event survived, although it must be said it was something of a relief when Sambo returned to take back the reins.
Latterly Steve's golf had regressed to the extent that he "won" the Goat Prize more times than any other competitor, but the Salver meant so much to him that, even though he hardly swung a club at Silloth in the last couple of years, he would always turn up to meet old friends, revisit old haunts and remember his old mate Philip.
Our sympathies go to his wife Denise, and his children Lucy and James.
Mark Nicholson 1955-2020
Mark’s death in June 2020 leaves the Goldthorpe Salver without its Supremo. When the title was first coined, it was with – given his self-professed lack of ability at golf – more than a hint of irony.
But it was a title into which he grew, and which he hugely enjoyed. What’s more, it was a task at which he excelled. He was meticulous with the arrangements, and in keeping with his profession as a banker, assiduous with the accountancy. It gradually became a significant part of his life; any unforeseen problems would cause him endless worry, and he was forever unnecessarily concerned that if things went wrong, if the wine or food were below par, or if changes had to be made to well-practised routines, we would hold him responsible.
Remember when a party of Scotsmen was mistakenly booked into “our” private dining room at the Golf Hotel? Or when the golf club at Silloth changed our tee times? Or when he “lost” his box file of arrangements and records at Penrith? We would view his apoplexy as a source of amusement, but there’s no doubt at all that the thanks we would give him at the end of every Salver competition were warm and heartfelt.
Though he always acknowledged that he’d never been particularly good at it, the game of golf – or more particularly the camaraderie that surrounds it – was amongst the things that kept him going. He was
never happier than on the pre-Silloth jaunt, when he was not responsible for the arrangements, or when somehow he had managed to avoid the Salver’s Goat Prize. However, in recent years he became a reluctant golfer; happy to accompany his mates on trips and be part of the craic, even if he wasn’t going to play.
Ironically, in possibly his final round – at Craigielaw on Chris Sampson’s Spring trip to Scotland in April 2019 – he actually played rather well, and for the good of his health we all felt it was a huge shame he wouldn’t venture out onto the course more. When he told us that he’d effectively retired from the game, we sensed that it was the first step in what would become an increasingly rapid decline.
Mark’s other passions were music, Huddersfield Town, and of course his stepdaughters Xannah, Daisy and Molly (“my girls” as he called them). In his flat at Woodsome he had a huge and eclectic vinyl collection, and we like to believe that the reason he would rarely answer his phone was because, with headphones on and the volume up, he simply couldn’t hear it.
Mark and "my girls"
He’d been an avid Town fan ever since he’d gone to Leeds Road as a child with his father – a long-standing season ticketholder – and he followed the club through thick and mostly thin. As much as he appreciated being called the Supremo, he was also proud of the moniker TF1 (Town fan 1), and the memory of the club’s unforgettable promotion to the Premier League was enough to bring a tear to his eye. The pilgrimage to fixtures home and away, often with close mate Iain Stevenson, was, like the post match beers and curry, part of his routine; once we realised that he was no longer going to games, we knew it was another worrying sign.
Mark was intensely loyal, and it was no coincidence that, quite apart from his Salver colleagues, many of those he’d first met at St David’s – John Birkhead, Andrew Haigh and Pete Bradshaw amongst others – remained firm friends for life. In recent years many of them had urged him to quit the habits that had clearly impaired his health, to get out of his flat, to walk and enjoy the beauty of Woodsome, but his efforts to help himself were usually shortlived. As time went on, it became clear that not even his passions were enough to reverse his decline. Quite simply it appeared that he had lost his zest for life.
Sambo has agreed to assume the mantle of organiser of the Goldthorpe Salver, and as before, he will no doubt be a splendid and efficient leader. But there will only ever be one Supremo. J.J.S
Peter Butler 1948-2017
Peter's sudden death in February, 2017, shocked us all. To say he was well-loved is a massive understatement; the numbers who attended his funeral at Kirkheaton Parish Church bear witness to his huge popularity, the vast affection in which he was held, and the great respect he commanded.
Peter's association with the Goldthorpe Salver was, of course, through Philip himself. They'd worked together at Eddisons, and it was typical of Peter that when the idea of the Salver was first proposed following Philip's death, he was an enthusiastic supporter.
However many of us already knew him well, especially those of us with connections at the Huddersfield Amateurs. Peter was as solid and reliable as a footballer as he was as a friend. Very solid, in fact - as many opposing forwards found to their cost. The old anecdote of the centre half penalised for a late tackle, and apologising to the referee that "I got there as quick as I could," might have originated with him. But whatever misdeeds he committed, true to the nature of the man, they were never committed with malice.
As a cricketer, Peter was better than he thought he was, and despite his own misgivings about his abilities, he comfortably held down a place as an all-rounder in the first teams at both King Cross in the Yorkshire Council and at Armitage Bridge in theHuddersfield League.
He was also a more than useful tennis player; his reflexes and touch at the net were a testament to the hand/eye coordination that made him such a fine all-round sportsman.
It also explained why he could bat left-handed at cricket and yet play golf right-handed - though most of us are convinced that had he played both the same way round, he would have been a much better golfer.
Peter's other main handicap on the golf course was probably his most attractive trait. He always took far more interest in other people rather than himself. If he played a poor shot, and to be fair that was hardly infrequent, his annoyance was brief. Rather than resorting to profanities, bemoaning his ill-fortune and blaming all and sundry, Peter would quickly turn to encouraging everyone else.
He was just as generous away from the sportsfield - someone you could always turn to for help, always freely given. In business he was hard-working, fair-minded, completely trustworthy and utterly scrupulous, and it is no coincidence that under his guidance Bramleys would become such a respected firm.
Peter was a devoted husband in turn to Gilly and Sue, and a proud and loving father to Antonia and Kurt, whom he treated as his own. And to the rest of us he was the most constant friend, totally without malice, always looking on the bright side, always with a smile, and always huge fun.
The Salver trip never truly started until he arrived from his customary lunch at The Pheasant. When he walked into the bar at Silloth - or through any door for that matter - the world was instantly a better place.
At Peter's funeral, warm and heart-felt eulogies were given by Mike Webb and Robert Turner - both long-time friends and business associates - who have given the website permission to reproduce short extracts. Robert spoke in particular of Peter's career as a Chartered Surveyor, and of his unpaid work for the Kirkwood Hospice and Huddersfield University:
"Peter was a master of the art of conversation but it was not often that he talked about himself. He had the knack of getting others to talk about themselves.
One of the secrets of his success was his ability to communicate with people in a calm, measured and objective manner. The only time I have ever known him to be heavy handed was when pouring a gin and tonic.
He was also, in a way, a great philanthropist. Not from a monetary perspective - after all he was a good Yorkshireman - but with his time. He would rather see his clients happy than send them a bill for general advice or guidance. I am sure that many of us here today have benefitted from that. We all welcomed and respected his measured advice and generally took it….
These were things he did but rarely mentioned. He never sought glory, celebrity or praise - he was modest, self-effacing, and shied away from the glare of publicity.
He was, in his quiet way, a great supporter of Huddersfield, its people and its institutions, and will be greatly missed by them.
He had lots of friends from a variety of connections and backgrounds. They all loved to see him because, wherever Peter was, there was always conversation - never an awkward silence. There was laughter and happiness and chuckles galore. In social company he was never very serious for very long. His passing will leave a big hole in our lives."
Mike spoke of their early friendship, which first began at the Huddersfield Amateurs.
"I met him shortly after leaving school in 1971 when I joined the Amateurs. Peter was a very solid (in all senses of the word) full back. He became a regular first-team player, then first team captain and ultimately President of the club. It is fair to say that he left a considerable mark on the Amateurs - as he did on a number of forwards who came up against him.
"Peter was always a man of his word. In 1973, when we were both single, he offered me a lift - because he had a car and I didn't - to a party in Collingham, where we were introduced to one of the most attractive women that I had ever set eyes on. I was too intimidated to be able to speak to her but Peter had no such inhibitions. As you will have guessed, this was Gill. By the end of the party it was pretty clear that I was not Peter's travelling companion of choice. But he had offered me a lift there, so - Peter being Peter - he gave me a lift back, however much he would rather have taken someone else."
"Peter was fortunate to have married two wonderful ladies. He and Gilly were married for 22 years until her untimely, premature and prolonged death, which Peter bore with great patience, fortitude and dignity. Some while after Gilly's death, Peter met and subsequently married Sue with whom he had hoped to share a long and happy retirement. He and Sue found great happiness together and shared much in common including a love of travelling with several interesting and challenging holidays undertaken, and more planned…..."
"I have long thought that if you could take some of Peter's DNA, recreate it and sprinkle it over the population of the world, then it would be a much better place, full of compromise and not war, a world which looks forward with optimism, banishes blame and fault and replaces them with a positive way forward, at all times upholding the virtues of patience, loyalty, hard work, steadfastness and a wish to be a better place."
Mike concluded as follows:
"A huge attendance in church today is testament to the enormous affection in which Peter was held by so many from all sorts of different strands of local life. I feel sure that to a greater or lesser extent, the lives of every single person in church today will have been improved by knowing Peter."
Tim Sugden 1952-2008
Tim's obituary in the Examiner (reproduced below) sets out the framework of his life, but it only hints at the sort of man he was, and why he was so highly regarded by everyone who knew him.
Quite simply, Suggy was one of the good guys. At work, at home and amongst friends he was fiercely loyal, utterly trustworthy, scrupulously honest and thoroughly reliable.
He wasn't perfect, of course: he was appallingly scruffy - the condition of his cricket kit and golf equipment was little short of disgraceful, and his casual clothing wasn't much better. He had his little idiosyncrasies: a fondness for scotch eggs and salad cream, for holidays on windswept British beaches, for ill-fitting shorts with ill-matching tee shirts, and an inability to putt.
But that was Suggy: fantastic company, a great friend, and a good man. We will all miss him hugely.
The following is reproduced from the Huddersfield Daily Examiner on February 26, 2008.
By David Lockwood, Huddersfield Daily Examiner
Friends and colleagues in both the cricketing and business world are mourning the loss of Tim Sugden, who died last week at the age of 55.
For many years, Tim was a well-known and respected batsman with Armitage Bridge in the Drakes Huddersfield League.
He also had a short spell at Bradford Park Avenue and Lockwood in his youth, while also being a member of the Craven Gentlemen cricket team.
Brought up in Berry Brow, he attended St David's Preparatory School, before moving on to Sedbergh School when he was 13.
He was later to become Head of School and received his First XI colours at both rugby and cricket.
But cricket was his real love in sport and it was at Armitage Bridge where he made his name in local cricket circles.
He racked up 10,000 runs in the First XI while making a century against Scholes in 1998, and in total scored over 12,000 runs for the club.
He also served the club well off the field and held the post of treasurer for 16 years.
In 2002, Tim was presented with one of the prestigious Lady Sykes Candlesticks, awarded by the Huddersfield League to a player who has given outstanding service to his club and cricket.
As managing director of the Sellers Engineering Group he was instrumental in his company sponsoring the Huddersfield Junior Cricket Leagues.
After graduating from Durham, Tim took up a post with Armitage Norton in Huddersfield to study accountancy.
He qualified as a chartered accountant in 1978, joining Waddingtons in Leeds before returning to Huddersfield in 1980 to join Sellers Engineering.
He was soon to become financial director before being appointed managing director.
In 2006, he was made president of the Huddersfield Society of Chartered Accountants.
Last summer he was taken ill while on a family holiday in Portugal with a malignant brain tumour. He passed away last week at Kirkwood Hospice.
Tim leaves a widow, Tracy, and three sons, Richard, Sam and Thomas.
More than 500 people attended a service at Holy Trinity Church to celebrate Tim's life.
Upon leaving school he was awarded a place at the University College, Durham, where he later gained a degree in Economics.
While there he won his University cricket colours playing in the first team for Durham.
Ed Hopkinson 1953-2009
Edward - an old friend of Philip's, and a friend of all those who play in the Goldthorpe Salver - died in tragic circumstances on the 4th of February 2009. Although he wasn't a regular golfer himself (in fact he wasn't really a golfer at all!), we are all fairly sure that he did actually play in the inaugural competition at Fixby. While that fact can't be confirmed since the records have gone missing, we know for certain that in subsequent years - never one to miss out on a good bash - he always turned up for the post-golf dinner, and we have photographic evidence to prove that in 1996 he came all the way to Silloth (Sally actually drove him up!) to join in the fun. Strangely, though, he appears to holding a soft drink.
Ed's funeral was held at Holy Trinity Church in Huddersfield on Friday, the 13th of February. Sally has given her permission to reproduce (below) part of Ian Pogson's tribute, which had us laughing, crying, and above all, wondering why.
"This is a duty I never expected to do but being asked to talk about a man as fine as Edward is a privilege and one I discharge with a heavy heart. I also see it as my duty to a kind, funny, decent, upright, honest and hard-working man who gave so much to us and was our friend.
It is also my duty to Sally, Sarah and Tom.
Over the past few days I've spoken to many people and apart from a collective disbelief the common thread is one of unqualified affection and love for Edward.
So - what can I possibly say about someone who we all knew so well and was liked and respected by so many?
Where do I start?
I began writing this last weekend, as soon as Sally asked me. My first jottings reflected the deeply emotional and sentimental gloom I think we all felt as we tried to come to terms with the shock. I was struggling with all the questions and the confused, desperate, dark, shadowy emotions going through my mind. How should I express my feelings for Edward when I know we all feel the same? Then on Sunday evening Tom rang me - and as we talked he said "not too serious" which came like a shaft of sunlight and suddenly my job became much easier. So if this is too irreverent its Tom's fault.
Somehow Edward escaped the clutches of St David's and the usual Gigg, Worksop or Wrekin. He actually went to Ashville, so I didn't come across him until my late teens or early twenties. Then this good looking bloke with a red TR6 appeared on the scene accompanied by rumours of derring-do and outlandish feats centred around the Junction Pub at Marsh. He quickly became an anchor-stone of our circle of friends and notwithstanding excesses of Bass Extra Light and Gordons, or equally San Miguel and Larios I can recall many memories - or should I say "flash-backs" - of good and happy times.
We were lucky young people and at that time better off than most. We grew up in an era that applauded eccentricity, tolerated occasional misbehaviour and understood that to get the most out of life you had to experience it and live it hard. Fast forward twenty years and in these puerile, politically correct, health and safety obsessed times I guess that some of our antics would have earned us at least one ASBO and Edward probably two.
So - we have this tall, blonde, good-looking, well-spoken, well-mannered, charming and generous man served up with a good dollop of devil -may-care. Going back to the 70's the rest of us were under no illusion that in the "bird pulling stakes" once Edward came on the scene we had some pretty serious competition.
Things abated a little when Edward started courting Sally but as we all know Sally is absolutely no kill-joy and so the partying went on but now it had style.
To all their friends Edward's relationship with Sally was the most obvious thing in the world. These two people were made for each other.
Two good looking people produced two good looking children, Sarah and Tom and they could be justly proud of great way they turned out. Sarah and Tom's childhood was sprinkled with liberal helpings of love, fun, discipline, good manners and they certainly grew up to know the meaning of the word "hospitality".
There is very little point me going on about Hopkinson hospitality - it is legendary - it cannot be bettered and it puts the efforts of faint-hearts like me to shame. Having said that, they have a huge circle of friends not because they know how to throw a good bash but mainly because they are very nice people.
Edward loved life and Edward lived life to the full; Edward inspired us and he was a great example to us all; His family loved him and we adored him. We admired Edward, we respected him and we always will.
Some sort of fuse blew in Edward's mind. A lesser man might have asked for help but Edward was a gentleman in every meaning of the word and he obviously decided that his problems were his problems and a burden he couldn't share. I am truly sorry for that.
Sally, Sarah and Tom - you are surrounded by friends. Friends who, out of love, affection and devotion to Edward and to you, will be there for you when they are needed."