For those of you like me who cannot imagine a day without sport in your life, you’ll quickly realise why meeting George and his wife Gillian was a very special day in my life.
George passed away recently but has left me, and many others, with some very special memories that will last a lifetime. My life is richer for knowing him.
George was one of my first clients when I started as a Caregiver with Home Instead Harrogate. In the early days I used to take him to enjoy group exercise sessions for people with Parkinson’s. We also spent many an hour catching up on the sports news and the state of politics.
George enjoyed sport throughout his life, especially cricket and football. He also enjoyed his career as a cricket umpire and football referee. The George Haydon Cup that we will play for is a very special piece of silverware as it was presented to him for services to refereeing in the London area.
When Gillian told me the significance of the trophy that she was dedicating in George’s memory it moved me to tears.
George’s interest in politics stemmed from a career as a public servant in the Treasury. One of his claims to fame was playing cricket with John Major. As an MCC member and an Arsenal season ticket holder, you can imagine the lovely moments we enjoyed chatting, debating and watching sport together.
His favourite footballer was the late, great Charlie George.
It was an absolute pleasure to support George enjoy the sporting banter he had loved throughout his life.
However, one of George’s greatest legacies is that our Parkinson’s Golf Days would never have happened without a “light-bulb” conversation in his living room.
Chatting away with Gillian and George about my dementia golf days in Lincoln resulted in this question “Have you ever considered doing something similar for Parkinson’s?”
As they say, the rest is history with over 20 people enjoying our fortnightly golf days at Rudding Park.
Gillian’s regret is that the golf days started too late for George. However, his legacy is that so many others are enjoying better lives with Parkinson’s as a result of discovering golf.
It will be a very emotional moment when we hand The George Haydon Cup to the winning team at our fundraiser on the 14th August.