At 91-years-young Southowram Social Club member Derek Gledhill is still showing the “young uns” how its done at the snooker table, writes Charlotte Henbest.
Up until the end of this season Gledhill was the captain of the club’s now defunct A-team and to ensure he continues to play the sport he loves he has joined their B team for the coming season.
To honour his commitment to the club and the league, he was presented with a beautiful glass trophy at last week’s AGM as a thank you from all of the committee and the league for all his work over the many years.
“To say I was surprised is an understatement,” said Gledhill. “I go to every meeting and this was never mentioned, so they did a very good job of keeping it quiet. It is now taking pride of place on the mantelpiece.”
Gledhill took up playing snooker as a teenager and joined Southowram Social Club at 16. Although now living in Greetland with wife Marian, he still ventures back to his home village.
“I have always played at Southowram and never joined anywhere else,” added Gledhill. “The only interruption to my playing was when I was away during the war.
“I don’t have any other hobbies apart from looking after my wife and will continue to play snooker as long as I can.
“Unfortunately we have lost some players in the A-team this year and so I have thrown in with the B-team this time. I am pleased to say that I was captain of the A-team, particularly when we won the our section cup a couple of seasons ago.
“I have had the same cue for donkey’s years and most players will tell you that you get used to playing with the same one.
“It’s never got me winning any money though! I just play for the sheer enjoyment of it and the company. I have made many great friends along the way.”
Ellis Aked said on the night: “Derek is a stalwart of the game and at 91 can still play a very competitive game.
“I cannot remember anyone still playing in to their nineties and still beating people. I really look up to him and hope I am still playing snooker at his age.”
Gledhill has a daughter, Sheila, one granddaughter and two great granddaughters.
“Unfortunately, we don’t get to see them very often as my granddaughter married an American soldier and so they live in Dover, New Jersey,” he said.
“However, we are in regular contact.”