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Obituary: Shirley Moore – top golfer and cricketer was one of first female osteopaths

FORMER Barton Golf Club ladies captain Shirley Moore, who became one of the first women in the UK to qualify as an osteopath, has died at the age of 84.

Shirley's career included supporting the England ladies cricket team on a tour of Australia, and she ran her own clinic in London.

Born in Stanmore in 1936, just 50 minutes before her twin, Shirley always took her role of older sister seriously and looked after identical sibling Freda throughout their lives.

Shirley Moore
Shirley Moore

The pair spent their early years growing up in Edgware, London, before moving to Halifax in Yorkshire during the war years to live with their grandparents.

Much of their time was spent in the company of their cousin John, who was five years older, and taught them to play cricket.

Freda recalled: “We both wanted an older brother and John fitted the bill perfectly.”

After the war, the family returned to Edgware, but the twins' passion for cricket continued and became a key factor in attending Milton Mount College boarding school when they were 14. Both Shirley and Freda later joined a women's cricket club and played for Middlesex.

When Shirley left school she returned home to help care for her mother who was receiving treatment from Mr Currie of the British School of Osteopathy. During one visit he asked Shirley for an extra pair of hands and subsequently convinced her to train as an osteopath.

After becoming one of the first female osteopaths to qualify in 1960, Shirley set up her practice close to her parent’s home but continued to help with her mother’s care.

Both Shirley and Freda were excellent cricketers and later became members of the Women’s Cricket and Associates Golf Society, meeting up with like-minded friends several times a year.

Shirley’s passion for cricket led her to join the England Ladies Cricket team as the osteopath during a tour of Australia. She did not have children but was very close to her nieces and nephew, and was particularly proud when niece Susan followed in her footsteps to become an osteopath.

Former colleague Dick Bazalgette recalled a 40-year-old man coming in for treatment with his body bent "at right angles" and in terrible pain.

He said: "Shirley’s extremely gentle examination followed by slowly moving his upper leg when there was a slight pop.

"Once he was on his feet, he ever so slowly stood up straight. Then, suddenly, started doing the most amazing gyrations. It was a miracle!"

Shirley met her future husband Harold on a golfing holiday in Majorca and the pair stayed in touch when they returned home. They were married at St Paul’s Church in Mill Hill in 1984 and Shirley became stepmother to his grown-up children Susanne and Clive.

She delighted in her new extended family and later became a loving grandparent to Rebecca, Christopher, Jamie and Charlie.

Following their wedding they made their home together in Mill Hill with Shirley continuing to run her osteopathy clinic. However, Harold had always hoped to retire to the coast and was eventually able to persuade Shirley to join him in a move to Barton.

Shirley found it difficult to leave her clinic but retirement brought new adventures and the couple became popular members of Barton Golf Club. Both were competent players and Shirley became lady captain and won many trophies.

She formed many friendships through her golf club membership and enjoyed the social side of club life as well as playing.

Harold died in 2005, but Shirley was well supported by her local friends.

She enjoyed walking on the beach, visiting Sails Cafe on the clifftop, seeing shows at the Regent Centre in Christchurch, meals out with friends, playing golf, and the occasional swim in the sea. She was a keen gardener and loved watching wildlife.

Donations in Shirley’s memory can be made to University College of Osteopathy c/o Colin, Hayley and Tapper Funeral Service, New Milton.

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