Robbie takes over as Leighton captain

Simon Rossiter with Robbie John, sentenced to 12-months hard labour as Leighton golf club Captain.
Simon Rossiter with Robbie John, sentenced to 12-months hard labour as Leighton golf club Captain.

A Welsh-born former RAF ground communications engineer has been installed as the new Captain of Leighton Buzzard Golf club – escorted in handcuffs to the first tee for Sunday’s drive-in, committed to 12-months “hard labour” for allegedly not settling his final mess bill.

Neath-born Robbie John spent 14 years in the RAF, with numerous overseas postings before finishing his career at RAF Stanbridge and returning to civvy-street.

The traditional drive-in ruse encapsulating Robbie’s roots, service career, and love of rugby was the work of his Vice Captain Simon Rossiter, himself a former RAF helicopter pilot, ably supported by members of the Leighton Buzzard Air Cadets who formed a guard of honour, club friends and colleagues and witnessed by more than 100 club members.

Simon said: “We had to find a way of getting Robbie to the first tee; arresting him on a trump charge to make sure he couldn’t escape from 12 months hard work as golf club Captain did the job.

“He’s a super guy and will be a great ambassador for the club and its members.”

Robbie, 69, an 11-handicap golfer whose love of sport extends to supporting MK Dons and Liverpool football clubs, is also a season ticket holder at Neath Rugby Club.

He’s been a member of Leighton Buzzard golf club for 39 years and was Captain of the Senior Section in 2016.

Joining him on the tee on Sunday was Ladies Captain Carmen White-Lawes, Junior Captain Andreas Valentine and Seniors Captain Peter Myrants.

The drive-in golf competition was won by former RAF technical officer Phil Coumbe with 37 points, with Mick Reynolds and Voja Savic runners-up a point behind.

During his year in office, Robbie will be raising funds for Newlife, a charity which supports disabled children with equipment grants, play and health services.

At Friday’s annual meeting, Brian Carter succeeded Keith Cox as Club President, Robbie John was presented with his Captain’s jacket for his 2019 term of office; Simon Rossiter was confirmed as Club Vice Captain.

Also, Liz Bagshaw, Chris Figg, Dave Roberts and Adrian Stephenson were elected members of the Management Committee.

Re-elected Club Treasurer Phil Whitecross told members that after a successful 2018 financially, competitively and socially, substantial further investment in course improvements would continue and that plans were being prepared to celebrate the club centenary in 2025 with a key-note project. With vacancies expected in the coming months, opportunities to welcome a limited number of new members would arise.

Outgoing Captain Jeremy Taylor said the club had enjoyed a successful year at all levels, losing only two of 17 inter-club fixtures; scratch and mid-handicap league teams performing well and three junior members, Ed Stephenson, Brandon Waddington and Andreas Valentine – winning the National Schools team championships. He named Bryan Bateman and Dave Embury as winners of the Captain-Pro Challenge, Ed Stephenson as his Club Player of the Year and Stuart Oliver as Club Personality of the Year.