Local golf mourns Lightcliffe’s Nigel

Pictured: (l-r) Stephen Oakes, senior partner, Chadwick Lawrence; Rebecca Shaw (Berties) Steven Bonfield (Chadwick Lawrence) Graham Hallam (HSBC); Mike Swallow (Berties) Cheryl Largue (Chadwick Lawrence) and Brett Woodward and Nigel Denham (Berties).
Pictured: (l-r) Stephen Oakes, senior partner, Chadwick Lawrence; Rebecca Shaw (Berties) Steven Bonfield (Chadwick Lawrence) Graham Hallam (HSBC); Mike Swallow (Berties) Cheryl Largue (Chadwick Lawrence) and Brett Woodward and Nigel Denham (Berties).

PROMINENT Lightcliffe businessman, Lightcliffe Golf Club president and recently retired Lightcliffe Cricket Club president Nigel Denham passed away suddenly last weekend.

His wife Lesley had just been to New York to see their son Craig and his family and her husband, aged 63, had been due to pick her up from the railway station.

However, his very good friend Steve Nicholls when alerted at his non-arrival, found him dead at home.

“Nigel was a dear friend and all the messages we are now receiving speak so highly of him,” said Steve.

This was reiterated by former Lightcliffe Cricket Club chairman John Brooke who has taken over from him as president in the past 12 months.

“Nigel took over from his dad Eric in August 2003 and was very instrumental in helping to advise and assist in us obtaining our field and adjoining car park at Wakefield Road,” said John.

“A descendant of the founder of the Halifax Building Society he was a pillar of strength in the Lightcliffe community and will be sadly missed,” added Steve.

Nigel ran his company Denham Wines and was owner of Berties Bistro, Elland.

He was very much into golf and when the Senior British Open was held at Carnoustie Links in July 2010, when they held the “Grand re-opening” of the newly refurbished shop. One of Denham’s (owner) old friends, Peter Alliss was on hand to do the honours. It was a great afternoon with good weather, and many of Nigel’s friends travelled from his home club, Lightcliffe Golf Club.

During an English Open Amateur stroke play event in 1974 held at Moortown Golf Club, Leeds, which once hosted the Ryder Cup, Denham hit his second shot at the 18th straight into the club house where it bounced its way into the men’s bar.

Since it was not considered out of bounds, Nigel opened a window and pitched the ball from the bar onto the green, landing just 12 feet away from the hole!

Nigel discovered that he had a clear shot to the green, albeit through a window, and simply followed the most important rule of all: play the ball as it lies. He had to move some furniture and ask the members to relocate their libations momentarily.

Similar situations are, of course, extremely rare.

They are so rare that Nigel’s initial plight and subsequent recovery created a great deal of headscratching among the people who interpret the rules of golf in the United Kingdom, specifically a group of rules experts in the clubhouse of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club in St. Andrews, Scotland.

Along with his Presidency at Lightcliffe he was also a committee member of the Yorkshire Union of Golf clubs (following in the footsteps of his father) and was well know to several of the members of the European Ryder Cup winning team.

Beside his dear wife and son Craig he had two daughters, Lindsey and Phillipa and was a loving granddad.

Steve added: “He was just a fantastic guy. He was generous and an all round nice guy. You would struggle to find a better man. He was a superb father and grandfather and a fabulous friend.

“Those that knew him have said what a tragedy it is. He was so well known and highly respected, it will be standing room only at his service.”

The tormer vicar of St Matthews, Lightcliffe, has been asked to take the funeral service by Nigel’s family.