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Friday, 01 August 2014

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Tributes to Cockermouth man who took to the golf course in his 90s

A Cockermouth man who played golf until the age of 92 has died.

Bill Hardcastle

Bill Hardcastle, 98, lived in Brackenhill Lane but recently moved into Kirklands Care Home.

He died on May 2, day after his birthday, having been born in Cockermouth on May 1, 1914, as the youngest of three children to parents Charles and Edith Hardcastle.

He lived on Henry Street and attended Fairfield School before moving on to Southfield Technology College in Workington.

He then spent time in London training as a draper before returning to Cockermouth to work for draper and outfitter JW Bowe in Market Place.

He eventually became a partner in the business and spent all his working life there before he retired in the 1970s.

He married Margaret Elizabeth Harrison at Christ Church in 1939 just before World War Two broke out.

During the war he served with the RAF as a flight engineer stationed at Silloth, the North East, Northern Ireland and Southampton and abroad in Malta, Italy and Austria.

After the war the couple moved to Dalton Street and in 1969 to Brackenhill Lane.

His son Barrie, 69, said his two great passions in life were golf and cricket.

Mr Hardcastle followed in his father’s footsteps by joining the Cockermouth cricket team principally as a bowler but also as a left-handed batsman.

He was a member of the team that won the Cumberland Senior League Championship in 1950 and after that he switched to golf.

Mr Hardcastle travelled across the country to play and was a member of the Cockermouth club for nearly 60 years, winning numerous competitions.

He was club captain in 1962 and president in 1973 and was still a regular at the club when he was 90.

Barrie said: “He played his last round of golf at Embleton when he was 92.

“He was preparing to tee off on the fifth hole when he was struck by a wayward golf ball and he dropped like a stone.

“However, he recovered sufficiently to complete his round of golf.

“The incident typifies the last few years of his life when he survived serious health problems any one of which might easily have finished off a man of his age.”

In his younger days Mr Hardcastle was a member of the town’s boy brigade, the amateur dramatic society and sang in church choirs. He played the piano, organ and drums.

He was a keen follower of rugby union and a life member of Cockermouth Conservative Club.

He was also a keen walker and was out almost daily near his home until his health deteriorated.

Barrie said: “He made plenty of friends but many of his companions were long gone and it was like Bill was last man standing.

“He was a true gentleman and a quiet man who didn’t like any fuss.

“He was a well known, popular and respected figure in the town where he lived nearly all his life and further afield.”

Mr Hardcastle suffered from health problems in later life which included a heart attack and failing eyesight.

Barrie added: “They were issues associated with old age but he fought them.

“However, he showed some of the resilience which typified his life and struggles in recent months. He survived to reach his 98th birthday with a day to spare.”

Mr Hardcastle is survived by his son and daughter Susanne, five grandchildren and four great grandchildren.

His funeral at Christ Church on May 9 was well attended by friends and family.

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