‘The Three Ronnies’ of Grantham still loving their golf at 90 plus
Inspiring telephone conversations with three revered Sudbrook Moor ‘Super Seniors’ showed their spirited and resilient attitudes under lockdown.
The three Ronnies, all in their nineties, keep well while supporting their households and being supported. Coming through uncertain times and challenges is just what they have always done, masters of making adjustments and showing that they are also contemporary guys and made to last.
Lincoln-born 93-year-old Ron Ward is a Barrowby resident, and missing his weekly golf. He said he is ‘bunkered down’, but healthy and safe. His main occupation during the lockdown is chief cook and bottle washer, which fills each day.
Probably the biggest treat is when one of his wonderful neighbours cooksand delivers a Sunday roast lunch, over the garden fence.
These generous folk are now friends, when they were previously only passing faces. Other Barrowby friends and the fantastic community network during lockdown bring in their weekly shopping, keeping Ron and his wife safe.Ron was delighted to draw on his memories of the 1940s and his schoolboy jobs of labouring on local farms, helping out in the Bottesford village shop and in a woodwork shed.
But shop work wasn’t Ron’s idea of a future, and his mum found him an apprenticeship as a mechanic in Grantham’s Whittle’s garage. When asked aboutWorld War Two, Ron’s strongest memory was the day when war broke out, and as a 12 year old, returning home for Sunday lunch from his role as a church choirboy he heard the news.
Later on, his life was daily touched by the war as he joined the train from Bottesford, bound for his Grantham workplace and mingled with the Nottingham munition workers travelling into Marco’s.
More up to the minute, Ron was pleased to commend our fantastic NHS and the modest Captain Tom Moore’s achievements in fund-raising.Ron is keeping in touch by telephone with his golf pals Geoff Key and Gordon Sumner, and Ron’s sparkle, brilliant memory and sense of humour remain very apparent.
Grantham’s Ron Selby was 17 when the war came to an end.His outstanding memory was how his life took a very sudden change of direction.
Ron received his call-up papers but before he could leave home, a motorbike accident put an end to that.He remained in Grantham to fill the work place of another young man who had been called up. The usual route would have been learning the job via the stores, but Ron went straight into Burton’s garage, earning his 17 shillings and four pence a week.
They were long days, under very strict management.The ethos was “now you have a job, work hard to keep it, and, as a youth, you do a man’s job.Set your mind to the task.”
Ron’s work ethic was not missed, and he soon earned himself a rise of a halfpenny per hour.His weekend job made good use of his driving licence, chauffeuring a car full of Grantham holiday-makers to their booked sea-side lodgings in Blackpool, and then to pick them up a week later. On such a trip he met his future wife, Jean.
Ron discovered golf on retiring from his own garage business over 30 years ago and has been playing ever since. He has supported senior golf and participated in every aspect of the Sudbrook Moor competition scene and he will be a familiar face to so many.His regular golfing buddies are Frank Wood and Michael Barnes and, again, the telephone has replaced their weekly golf and lunch.
At 91 years, London-born Ron Boxell, remembers incendiary bombs and an early life in a Tottenham terrace. From school at 14, Ron started work in a factory making steel beds for hospitals.The social life was the best.A group of lads from the factory discovered the love of ballroom dancing.There was a dance craze all over the UK.
They took some dance lessons and danced every night.Ron saved up to splash out on a very slick pair of patent leather dancing shoes.He bought himself the Victor Sylvester book of Ballroom Dancing and it helped with practising the steps, accompanied by his parents’ wind-up gramophone.
Jazz was Ron’s particular favourite music. The Tottenham Mecca, the municipal swimming pool covered over to create a winter dance venue, church halls and the assembly rooms were all crowded.Factory life with its smells and noise, the welding and the hard graft, did not seem to be the future Ron wanted.
VE Day had a fantastic atmosphere of suburban street parties and celebrations,and many went down to the city to celebrate the big relief that the war was over.
Ron was most impressed by his uniformed Flight Sergeant uncle, home on leave from Egypt, and with the life changing decision “factory life is not for me”, Ron went off to join the Armed Forces, heading in the direction of a carpentry career but finding himself as a PTI in the Royal Air Force three years later.
Ron has loved all sport and was an especially fine athlete.He found golf at Sudbrook Moor on retirement and became Senior Captain and held office for a number of years, supported so ably by Joyce his wife of over 60 years.He has been a major influence in building the present day series of senior competitions and successfully led many teams in inter-club matches.
Ron’s organisation was always meticulous and full of ingenuity.Ron and Joyce now live nearer Lincoln and keep active at 91 years.
The three men are truly ‘part of a great generation’.