Harry ready for Rushmere role
GOLF: Harry Gallant drove in last Saturday to start what promises to be a hectic and eventful year as captain of Rushmere Golf Club. Next month Harry celebrates his 70th birthday and will be a pivotal figure in Rushmere's 75th anniversary celebrations during the course of his year as captain.
HARRY Gallant drove in last Saturday to start what promises to be a hectic and eventful year as captain of Rushmere Golf Club.
Next month Harry celebrates his 70th birthday and will be a pivotal figure in Rushmere's 75th anniversary celebrations during the course of his year as captain.
Ipswich born and bred, Harry became a member at Rushmere 27 years ago, but did not serve on the committee until last year after being invited to become vice-captain by Tom Howard who ended his year of office last Friday.
Although admitting to feeling a bit apprehensive, Harry, a 19 handicapper, is looking forward to the next 12 months.
He said: "During my year as captain, I would like to see the club move on and improve its status in the county. The course is as good as it's ever been and the social side is fantastic. The whole atmosphere of the club is tremendous."
Harry is a well-known character in the town, but like many people of his generation did not turn to golf until he had finished playing football.
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Back in 1949 he was on Ipswich Town's books when Scott Duncan was the manager and played for the 'A' side in the Border League. He then played for the old Ipswich Wanderers before moving to Waterside Works and finally hung up his boots at the age of 37.
Then he started working for Ipswich Town on match days, first on the turnstiles, then security before becoming chief steward for three parts of the ground.
The Taylor Report following the Hillsborough tragedy did not allow people over 56 to come in contact with the fans so Harry switched jobs to become cash officer, a job he is still doing today.
"I make up all the wages for the part-time matchday staff," he said, "but it has meant that I cannot watch the matches. We've got a TV in the office, but I only catch bits and pieces of games."
However, in the Bobby Robson era, Harry travelled to games at home and abroad and was friendly with a number of the players, especially David Johnson.
"David and I are close friends," said Harry, "and we still keep in touch. In fact, he stayed with me recently when he came down for an after dinner speaking engagement." DJ, as he was popularly known in his Portman Road days, is now a regular on the after-dinner speaking circuit and also works at Anfield on the hospitality side.
Harry recalled the occasion when he went to watch Town play Liverpool at Anfield and stayed in Kevin Keegan's house overnight in North Wales. He said: "After the match Kevin invited David and I to his house and the next morning I had to umpire a tennis match between the pair of them!
"I also remember being a guest of Mick Mills at the PFA awards night at the Hilton in London and Kevin Keegan came over and shook hands with me.
"I travelled to London for the PFA do on the Town coach and sat in Bobby Robson's seat without realising it, but he didn't mind and sat somewhere else."
It was his friendship with the Town players back in the 1970s that led Harry to playing golf.
He said: "Sometimes on a Sunday morning I used to have a game with some of them, but then I started to think seriously about it and decided I should join a club."