LOVING tributes have been paid to a former Kilton Forest Golf Club captain who died suddenly whilst on holiday in Madeira.
John Clarke passed away aged 72 on the last day of a two-week break with his wife and friends after being told he was not well enough to board the plane home.
The grandfather-of-five, from Hamilton Road, Worksop, was rushed to hospital on 18th July where doctors found lesions on his liver. His widow Judith said the family had no idea how ill John was prior to that day.
“He died later that day. He wasn’t well. He was tired and didn’t have much of an appetite. But we found that it was something far more serious,” she said.
“We did not know he had cancer.”
John, who would have celebrated his 25th anniversary of being treasurer at Kilton Forest in November, had lived in the area all his life.
The former Retford Grammar School pupil worked as an accountant and retired at the age of 67. A keen sports fan, he was never far from the golf, cricket or his beloved Sheffield United.
“He liked sport and played snooker with his grandson,” added Judith. “I don’t feel like a golf widow, but it was something which was very close to him and he enjoyed it very much.”
“His family, in particular his grandchildren, were the light of his life. They meant everything to him.”
Every Sunday, John would cook lunch for the whole family, which often meant a busy dinner table.
Ruth, one of three children Judith and he shared, said he left a big hole in the family.
“He was always there for us. His grandchildren thought the world of him, especially his coronation chicken followed by treacle sponge.”
“He would have wanted us to carry that tradition on – it must have been a nightmare at times. We never knew where the invitation ended, it wasn’t just immediate family,” Ruth added.
At his funeral at St John’s Church, a host of former club captains formed a guard of honour for him.
Kilton Forest Golf Club chairman Ian Offen said John was a ‘very approachable’ man.
“He was one of the main people at the club – an unsung hero,” he said. “He kept the club running. He was the treasurer but he did a lot more.”
“He turned his hand to everything at the club, organised our presentation evenings too and he will be dearly missed.”
Judith added: “It was a lovely service and I was really very proud, he would have loved it.”