It is my sad duty to report that Alan Catchpole died peacefully on Wednesday 2nd March 2022 at the age of 89.
I will leave others to comment on his successful business career. I knew Alan as a golfer and a friend over many years.
He was a very fine golfer gaining an Oxford Blue in 1953 and 1954 and he played in his first Halford Hewitt, as a cheeky 20 year old (if his photo is anything to go by), in 1953 when Marlborough lost to Harrow in the Semi Final. Alan played surprisingly in only 9 Hewitts but was a key part of our renaissance in the 70s where we won the tournament once and got to 4 finals. Together with Alastair Bond, he won all 6 of his matches in 1971 where we were finalists and he was a member of the winning team in 1972 when he partnered his great friend Peter Good to a famous win over Harrow in the final. In those two years, he played in the fourth pair and I played in the 5th pair. It was enormously comforting to be greeted by a broad grin on the course knowing that he and Peter were at least 3 up! He captained the Hewitt side between 1986 and 1992 during which time we reached the quarter final three times.
One of his jobs as Halford Hewitt manager was to organise accommodation and here I quote from his letter inviting me to play in the 1992 event: “Unfortunately we cannot stay at the Hotel St James this year as the hotel is closed due to flooding problems”. What he did not mention was that these flooding problems may not have been unconnected with the long hot bath that Alan might have had during the 1991 event!
In later years he did have a slightly uneasy relationship with a selection of drivers which probably resulted in him playing in fewer Bernard Darwin trophies than he perhaps should have done as it was played at the notoriously tight Woking GC.
Alan contributed enormously to the OMGS. He was Captain of the OMGS in 1985/86 and President from 2007 – 2010.
I chatted to Alan on a regular basis. To me he was a huge enthusiast with a great sense of humour. He did get me out of a hole during one of my early Hewitts. At that time, we had a number of wine connoisseurs in the side and at one dinner a cork was being passed round for us to study. Having had several pints of Shepherd Neame, I had not a clue what to say. Alan, sitting next to me, saved the day when the cork arrived. He took one look at it and said; “Never mind the colour, I’m a quantity man”!
I will miss him enormously.