MR GOLF: Friends have paid tribute to Freddie Sunderland
A MUCH-LOVED golfer died on the Crondon Park course last month.
Freddie Sunderland, 74, had a heart attack while teaching a promising young golfer at the Stock club on August 11.
The flamboyant and popular man was head professional at Crondon Park, following a successful playing career around the Essex circuit.
Shocked friends and fellow professionals have described Freddie as a "fantastic man" who would "make a 28-handicapper feel like a pro".
The former amateur boxer first decided to swing the clubs for a living in 1964 when he took up a junior role at Abridge golf club.
He was soon snapped up by Upminster Golf Club where he later became head professional.
In 1980 Freddie began an 18-year spell around the fairways of Brentwood, spending time as the resident pro at Warley Park in Magpie Lane and Weald Park in Coxtie Green Road.
He spent the final decade of his career at Crondon Park where he became well known for his dedication and unbounded enthusiasm towards developing young talent.
It was while coaching a 14-year-old boy that Freddie collapsed and, despite many attempts, was unable to be revived.
The former Essex PGA champion, who lived in Upminster, has left behind devoted wife, Frances, also 74.
She explained the void that her husband, who became known as "Mr Golf", has left in many people's lives.
She said: "Many people have said to me that if Freddie were to choose where and when he could go that would be it, but I am bewildered, just overwhelmed with it all.
"Freddie was as fit as a fiddle and I am finding it quite hard to come to terms with.
"He was such a popular man and in my life he was so exciting and full of vibrancy and now everything has gone."
Warley Park club manager Kevin Smith paid tribute. He said: "Freddie will be deeply missed by many people at Warley Park. He was an inspiration to many golfers at the club and someone that would always make you feel very special."
Freddie's funeral was held at South Essex Crematorium in Corbets Tey yesterday (Tuesday).
A memorial service will be held at St Luke's Church in Front Lane, Cranham, on Sunday, September 19 at 2.30pm.
As well as wife Frances, Freddie leaves behind his daughter Karen and two grandchildren.