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Obituary: Alan Parker – New Milton businessman who spent 50 years with Brokenhurst Manor Golf Club

Alan Parker was a member of Brokenhurst Manor for 50 years
Alan Parker was a member of Brokenhurst Manor for 50 years

ALAN Parker, a hugely respected figure in local golf circles and a well-known member of Brokenhurst Manor club for nearly 50 years, has died at the age of 88.

Alan’s dedication to the sport was recognised in 2018 with the Tom King Trophy to honour his “outstanding contribution” to the Hampshire PGA over two decades.

In his younger days he took part in Cold War anti-espionage efforts, travelled widely, forged a successful business career and was married for 60 years to Catherine – the couple celebrating their diamond wedding anniversary last July.

But Alan was also no stranger to tragedy. He was the business partner of Joseph Cleaver, who was brutally murdered in Fordingbridge with his family by handyman George Stephenson in 1986.

Alan came across the horrific aftermath and it affected him deeply, although his stoic disposition rarely let it show.

Born at Gestingthorpe Nursing Home in Winton, Bournemouth, Alan was the youngest of four children. His father, Percival, was a cabinet maker, and Alan won a place at Bournemouth School.

Called up for national service at the age of 18, he spent a little over two years in the Royal Signals, becoming lieutenant corporal.

Initially based in Catterick, North Yorkshire, he served most notably in Vienna as part of Cold War counter-espionage efforts, and during that time developed a love of skiing.

He returned from national service with an Army discharge in his pocket praising his contribution to his troop as a cross-country champion and captaining its cricket and football teams.

Alan threw himself into local football, earning Bournemouth League Division One and cup winners’ medals while playing for Northbourne and excelling as a distance runner.

During that time he worked locally and married Catherine, before his life changed with his successful application for a position in Lusaka, northern Rhodesia, with British School of Careers – part of the Cleaver-Hume group of companies.

Alan travelled widely in Africa and grew to love warm climates and foreign travel, also taking up golf. He was an instant convert and it became a central part of his life, initially joining Chinama Golf Club, now Lusaka.

On returning to England in 1969 the family settled in Highcliffe and then New Milton, where Alan remained in the same house from 1973 until his death.

He joined Brokenhurst Manor Golf Club in July 1971 and there followed nearly 50 years of unbroken membership. He loved the club and the members, forging many lasting friendships.

Alan continued to work in the same sphere of business, although he left Cleaver-Hume to work with Joseph Cleaver on a start-up. He was primarily based in Fordingbridge but the firm had interests in both Oxford and London and he travelled to both locations frequently.

The firm expanded successfully, until Mr Cleaver was murdered in 1986. Alan subsequently dealt quietly with the associated personal and business affairs.

Although he retired in 1997, Alan continued to work on a part-time basis for the firm, chairing one of the companies within the group and providing guidance.

It enabled him to devote more time to golf, and he offered his services to Hampshire PGA. In 1998 he began working in a part-time capacity as an official, travelling to events across the county.

He worked closely with then secretary David Wheeler for 15 years and for the last five with current secretary Roger Tuddenham. He was widely respected by the professional golfers with whom he dealt.

Alan died peacefully at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital and is survived by Catherine (Kay) and sons Andrew and Ian. His funeral has taken place, and his family hopes to hold a memorial for all those who knew Alan when the pandemic allows.

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