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Champion of girls golf dies aged 80

A MOLD woman who dedicated her life to improving the lives of young people has died, aged 80, just five weeks after being diagnosed with cancer.

Gaynor Jones who had been a member of Mold Golf Club since 1960 and was lady captain at the club in 1966 and president 1992-4, received the MBE from Prince William in 2016 for services to girls’ and women’s golf after 35 years as junior girls’ manager for Denbighshire and Flintshire (D&F).

A primary school teacher by profession, who had also been junior girls’ organiser at her home club for many years, Gaynor focussed much of her time on furthering girls’ golf and creating opportunities for girls to discover the game and develop their skills, particularly following her retirement at 50. Over the years Gaynor organised training, matches, tri golf and competitions for hundreds of juniors of all abilities, from complete beginners to those who went on to join the professional ranks.

Prior to receiving the MBE, Gaynor managed the Welsh Girls Home International team on two occasions and also chaired the Wales Golf Girls’ sub committee. She received the Henry Cotton Award in 1999 which is given to just one person in the UK each year for `meritorious service to junior golf for a sustained period.’ The award was presented by former Ryder Cup captain Bernhard Gallacher at a ceremony at Wentworth Golf Club.

Gaynor’s daughter Debbie Barton is the manager of Mold Golf Club. She said: “My mum stumbled into the girls’ manager role with D&F as the previous manager was looking to stand down and the county was looking for a replacement. No one was coming forward. I was 12 at the time and mum suggested she could perhaps do it until I was 18. I was not far off 50 when she finally finished!

“Mum was hugely well loved and was a warm, kind and generous person with a great sense of humour. When she was very poorly, I read the many letters that had been written in support of her MBE nomination to her and they really were a tribute to how well thought of she was. There were letters from MPS and all kinds of dignitaries and officials, but mum was especially thrilled to be described by a young junior in one as her `hero in red lippy!’. Mum had a great relationship with the juniors and was on their wavelength. They used to laugh that mum always had red lipstick in her golf bag whatever the occasion!”

Dilwyn Griffiths, development officer for Wales Golf said: “With the passing of Gaynor, our sport lost more than a great ambassador for our game, golf in Wales lost one of its greatest personalities; whilst I personally felt the loss of a dear and trusted friend. Gaynor could not only light up the room with her smile, she could illuminate the entire clubhouse with her infectious giggle. Gaynor had an unparalleled ability to nurture, develop, inspire and support those girls and juniors who she worked with at club, county, regional and national level and there is no doubt that she had a profoundly positive effect on those who were under her wing. Gaynor will forever be remembered as a North Wales golfing legend for her contribution to our sport. She will be hugely missed by so many and will never be forgotten for the part she played in others’ lives.”

Debbie added: “Mum lived life to the full and enjoyed playing and watching golf all over the world on her many travelling adventures. She was very proud when I became manager at Mold in December last year and I am so glad she saw me do that. The outpouring of love from so many of mum’s friends in the golfing community following her diagnosis and since losing her has been overwhelming. She passed away peacefully at home with her family, surrounded by flowers and cards and I would like to thank everyone who has been in touch and supported us at this difficult time.” A memorial service to celebrate Gaynor’s life will be held once restrictions are lifted.

Caption: Gaynor Jones MBE who passed away recently.