Golfer anxious to ensure Nottingham always celebrates St Patrick’s Day with a parade

Golfer anxious to ensure Nottingham always celebrates St Patrick’s Day with a parade

With future St Patrick’s Day Parades in Nottingham under serious threat an avid Irish golfer living in the locality wants to commence the fundraising drive to ensure next year’s event goes ahead.

Lahinch native Michael Rush, who will take up the role as Club Captain at Woolaton Park Golf Cup in Nottingham next October, wants the parade to remain part of people’s lives in the East Midlands.

“I have been a member here for 40 years and was recently asked to become captain,” Rush explained to The Irish Post.  “It was announced at the St Patrick’s Day parade.  It will be a great honour for me.  I think it is important for the Irish community that the parade continues.  I’ve spoken to people involved in the organising committee, who tell me it costs around £25,000 to host.

“There is a bit of a doubt about whether it will go ahead next year, but I would like to do something to help raise money.  I’ve been thinking of maybe a Golf Tournament in which every one of the 32 counties was represented.  Something of that nature in which Irish people would feel connected to the competition.

“A lot of Irish people all over the UK are interested in golf.  A few other clubs locally have big Irish interest in them too so I feel that we should be able to do something to help.

“People want the parade to continue.  It is vital for so many people to celebrate their Irishness and even for me personally it will be a great honour to be Captain at Woolaton Park Golf Club.

“I’ve been on the committee previously, but this came totally out of the blue when they asked me to become Captain.  The rules regarding being appointed Captain have changed recently so my name was put forward.

“I’m a bit nervous about it in one way, but it should all go through at the Annual General Meeting in October.  Last week they seconded me to be on the committee, of which I was part of previously, so in a sense I’m already acting as vice-captain.”

Rush, who left Ireland 56 years ago, has been a renowned amateur golfer for decades recalling one particularly thrilling week for him in 1992.

“There was a great tournament in Woolaton then.  Peter Thompson, who won the Open five times, and Christy O’Connor Snr played in it.  At the time I took a week off work – looking back it was one of the best weeks in my life.

“Henry Cooper the boxer played too.  He was a proper gentleman; people have always spoken about how nice a man he was and I found that too.  I still have pictures of me with Christy O’Connor Snr – it was a great time.

“Years before there was a time when I was going to caddie for Peter Thompson, who had been my hero as a young player.  Then we got word that the Skeretts from Lahinch would be playing.  I had to turn down the chance to caddie for Peter Thompson.

“I left Ireland in 1959 as a 17 year old.  At the time I was quite prominent in golf in Ireland, but I went to London.  I went back home again, but we eventually settled in Nottingham.  We celebrated our 50th Wedding Anniversary on February 27 at the Woolaton Park Gold Club.   Lots of Irish people were there; it was a great night.  I go back to Lahinch every September; I still have relatives there.  That is nice.”  Despite spending so much of his days in Nottingham Rush has never forgotten his Irish roots.

**Anybody interested in assisting Michael Rush in organising a Golfing Event to raise funds for Nottingham’s St Patrick’s Day festivities should contact [email protected]