Joe, last year at the PGS’ Captains’ Reunion, Committee and Seniors’ Day

Joe Wood Obituary, by Philippa Kennedy

(the full version will appear in the next edition of the PGS newsletter)

Titans of the old Fleet Street days lined up to pay tribute to the much-loved and respected Joe Wood, who died, aged 94 on 15th March.

The warmth, affection and respect for the former boss of the Joe Wood News Agency at the Old Bailey and the High Court shone through messages from reporters who worked with him, editors who depended on him and golfing pals who laughed their ways around the fairways with him.

Joe suffered from poor health in his last two years, battling prostate cancer and became increasingly frail after Nita died.  They had been married for 70 years and had two children, son Tim, 69, who took over the agency when his father retired and daughter Tracy Simmonds, 67, four grand-children and four great-grand-children.

Said Tracy: “Dad was frail but still pushing back and we moved his bed downstairs to the heart of the house where he was surrounded by the family. It was an incredibly sad time but such a privilege to spend those last few months with him sharing some wonderful moments.”

A former captain of Enfield Golf Club and the Press Golfing Society, Joe was an excellent golfer whose lowest handicap was two.  A natural sportsman, who was RAF Javelin champion during his National Service, he also played rugby for a Saracens team.  His name is emblazoned on at least eight PGS trophies including the prestigious Sir John Gordon PGS Putter.

Notoriously absent-minded, he once almost sparked an enquiry at Scotland Yard after two valuable PGS trophies went missing following Chester Stern’s Captain’s Dinner there. Sometime later, Nita found them at the back of the bedroom wardrobe where Joe had hidden them for safekeeping when they got home from the event.

Perhaps the most spectacular example was when a delayed holiday flight meant him missing his own Captain’s Dinner at London’s Savoy Hotel.  He eventually arrived, full of apologies, after dinner was over.

A few memories from Joe’s fellow PGS members:

NIC BROOK , Mirror Art Editor, remembers Joe’s golfing prowess as a three-handicapper.  “Joe was a lovely fellow, the kindest of men and a fabulous golfer.   When I joined the Press Golfing Society I recall his kindness and encouragement more than anything.  You always felt you’d do OK if you had Joe as your playing partner.”

 JEREMY CHAPMAN, Vice President and former PGS Secretary writes: “ Lovely man, lovely golfer – the best we had in the PGS for a while.  I was lucky enough to play with him twice, once back in the day when he was in his prime and with his magnificent iron play shepherded us to a wide-margin win in a team event. He was an awesome partner, as well as a hugely encouraging one; the second time many years later in an Emsley Carr quarter-final on the Edinburgh course at Wentworth. It was damp and he wasn’t the force he was. Suddenly after ten holes he said “you have the match, let’s go and have a good lunch!”

PHILIPPA KENNEDY, former PGS President and Captain, remembers being sent up to the Old Bailey as a ‘young and very green reporter’ by formidable Sun news editor Ken Donlan, with the instruction: “Find Joe Wood.  He’ll look after you.”  Naively I thought I was supposed to take down every single word and I was panicking.  Joe just handed me some copy with the prosecution opening statement, the names of the defendant and the barristers and the plea.  I think he probably gave me an intro too.  He was an incredible presence, tall and handsome and a natty dresser.

“He invited me to join a golf trip once to the West Coast Links of Ireland and I was designated ‘house mother’, my main job being to check Joe’s room on leaving in case he had forgotten something.  Once it was a pair of highly polished shoes and another time it was his blazer with his passport in a pocket.”

There will be a private cremation but the family is planning a party at the family home in Dulwich to celebrate their parents’ lives on a date as yet to be decided.

Pic by Nic Brook, Words by Felix Duckworth.

James Nursey completed in his very own March treble as he claimed victory in the PGS medal round at Worplesdon.

Fresh from captaining the PGS in Suffolk to retain the cup in the match against the Northcliffe Golfing Society, Nursey’s excellent net 71 secured him the Lord Riddell Memorial Trophy, plus the best gross score on the day of 75.

Former Mirror staffer Nursey, playing off four and topping Division 1, was just a stroke ahead of Nev Appleton and Ian Woods, whose net 72 gave him the top honours in Division 2.

Ross Slater took third place in Division 1 with a net 73, while Philip Johnston and Cornelius Bohane tied the places in Division 2 with net 74s.

It’s Nursey’s second victory in the season-opening medal round at Worpleson, which is always an enviable achievement but especially this year after a winter of golf limited by torrents of rain.

Happily, the Surrey course has coped with the deluge better than most and the field of 36 enjoyed even greens, the odd lake (or standing water as it was called on the day), firm(ish) fairways and a warming spell of early spring sunshine as the society emerged from golfing hibernation.

Meanwhile, Patrick Eager carded his very own 80 as the PGS marked his milestone birthday with a presentation of gifts – including fine wine chosen by Paolo – after a generous whip-round from society members.

‘I’m working on shooting my age,’ said Patrick, one of the society’s vice-presidents. ‘I’ve had a fantastic – I think – 38 years in the PGS. I’ve loved every minute of it and I’ve got so much more out of it than I’ve put in.’

The medal round also produced the 16 players to take part in this year’s Emsley Carr matchplay competition. The first round ties are: 

Nic Brook v Kevin Price

Tim Allan v Jono Baker

Peter Dazeley v Nev Appleton

Evan Samuel v Hugo Chambre

Nick Cherrie v Steve Lewis

Ian Woods v Philip Johnston

Neal Adams v Mike Waker

Ross Slater v Kevin Mitchell

The three reserves are Brian Viner, Nick Jones and Colin Hancock. Ties must be played by May 5th!

Pics curtesy of Evan, Nick T, Ian W, Nev, Brooky, Paolo, Felix & Neil W!