Brian Purse, one of the most dedicated supporters of amateur golf in the Midlands – and, indeed, England – sadly passed away on 1st December 2016 after a long and courageous battle against illness.
A past chairman of the Midland Golf Union and a representative of his beloved Cambridgeshire on the English Golf Union, he will be missed by his many colleagues and friends throughout the country.
Brian’s immense dedication to golf was recognised in 2013 when he was nominated for the Gerald Micklem award, which is presented annually to the person who has made an outstanding contribution to further the interest of amateur golf in England.
Brian had always been a keen sportsman, although his first interests were with cricket and soccer. He was an articled clerk in a Chartered Accountant’s practice in Cambridge and it was colleagues there who introduced him to the game at a nine-hole course at The Gog Magog near Cambridge.
However, he was generally a nomadic golfer throughout the 1970s but after being promoted to a managerial role by his employers in the company’s practice in St Neots, he joined St Neots Golf Club in 1979 with a handicap of eight, becoming club champion nine years later and again in 1997.
A year later, in 1989, he was elected Captain in the club’s 99th year and after two more years his interest in county affairs saw him join the late Malcolm Unsworth as a representative of Cambridgeshire on the Midland Golf Union, serving for eight years.
Following Malcolm’s death, Brian took over as Cambridgeshire representative on the English Golf Union Executive Committee for 10 years from 1995-2005 and it was during that period, 1997-1998, that he was elected President of the Midland Golf Union.
Further honours were to follow and in 2000 and 2001, he became the first member of St Neots to hold the office of President of Cambridgeshire. During his tenure Cambridgeshire won the Anglian League for the first time.
From 2001 to 2005, Brian served as a member of the EGU’s Finance Committee, while for two years from 2003 he became Chairman of Junior Golf in Cambridgeshire, during which time he and David Tipple developed a template for the county’s first official coaching programme.
His role with the juniors was relatively brief as, in 2005, he was elected Chairman of the Midland Golf Union, a post he held until 2015 when he was diagnosed with a serious illness. He stepped down, saying his treatment meant he was unlikely to be able to perform his role to the level he set himself. However, despite not holding office he was actively involved with the Midland Golf Union, attending many events and meetings to give the benefit of his vast experience to all those who sought his opinion.
On receiving the Micklem Award Brian was quoted as saying “Throughout my 25 years or so as a volunteer I have been privileged to work, and spend time with, a multitude of people who have positively influenced my life. I owe a great debt of gratitude to so many and can only repay them by continuing to serve a game I love.” Brian continued to enjoy his golf as often as his medical treatment would allow.
The Directors of the Midland Golf Union paid tribute to Brian on the sad news of his passing, by saying “Brian will be sadly missed. We have all at some time sought Brian’s opinion on matters and his wise counsel has always been most welcome. He will be sadly missed but his influence on golf in Cambridgeshire and the Midlands will continue to shine brightly”.
Brian leaves behind his long term partner Glenna, his mother and two sisters.
The photograph shows England Golf Past President, Paul Baxter (left), at the annual general meeting of England Golf at Woodhall Spa, where Brian joined a long line of distinguished winners of the Gerald Micklem award.