Roles reversed as Avril takes over the reins as the captain

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A former flight attendant has been installed as the new Ladies Captain of Leighton Buzzard golf club – with her now retired airline Captain husband acting as her “trolley dolly.”

Avril Simpson, who met husband Tony whilst both were working for Air Ecos in her native Aberdeen, has succeeded Angela Samuels as Captain of the 100-strong thriving ladies section at the Plantation Road club.

The drive-in ruse was the work of her vice captain Patti Marriott and a crew of club colleagues, with Avril being airlifted to the first-tee to the strains of a modified version of the Beatles hit ‘Ticket to Ride’.

Avril moved south in 1981 when husband Tony joined Luton-based Britannia Airways, later joining Virgin flying passengers around the world before his recent retirement.

Regular travellers with a passion for mountain skiing, the couple have a daughter Amy , a fashion buyer for a high street store, and son Robbie who has followed in dad’s vapour trail as a pilot with Easyjet.

Avril took up golf ten years ago, initially playing at Tilsworth before joining Leighton’s Plantation Road club a short time later. She has served on the Ladies committee at Leighton for a number of years and won several club trophies.

The golf competition which followed the drive-in was won by former Ladies captain Val Berry with 38 points; outgoing captain Angela Samuels was runner-up with 37 points, one clear of third-placed Joyce Young.

During her year in office, Avril will be raising funds for two worthy causes – the Chiltern Centre for Multiple Sclerosis and the Leighton Otters Swimming club.

And her fund raising got off to a flying start on Thursday with a well supported Christmas Bazaar which attracted scores of club colleagues and visitors.

In other activities at the Leighton club, members used to bagging birdies, eagles and a rare albatross have instead been competing for turkeys to be delivered in time for the festive season.

The Midweek Turkey medal was won by retired builders’ merchant delivery driver Tom Thorne whose nett 66 was two shots clear of runner-up Mike Smith, with John Latimer bagging third spot with a nett 69.

George Sadowski, David Banwell and David Roffe headed a chasing pack with nett 70s, with Derek Hobday, Stephen Foster, Roger Servantes, Andrew Ashall, David Debell and Ken Wilson a shot behind.

Bryan and Vicki Pratt posted a nett 72 to win the Mixed Turkey medal, with Kate and Mark Knight runners-up with a nett 74.5.

Club President John Preston and wife Sue will also be tucking in after finishing third with a nett 76, half a shot clear of Jackie and Nigel Phelps and Phillip and Sue Lambert.