Haworth's Elaine proud to make Keighley Golf Club history

Keighley News: Keighley Golf Club president Ripton Wilson with his successor Elaine Pearson Keighley Golf Club president Ripton Wilson with his successor Elaine Pearson

Haworth woman Elaine Pearson will next year make history.

She will become the first-ever female president of Keighley Golf Club, formed 110 years ago.

Mrs Pearson, 51, said she was “absolutely proud and honoured” to be offered the post.

And she praised the club for embracing equality and equal playing rights.

“When I received a phone call from the then president to inform me of the decision I was in complete shock,” said Mrs Pearson, who works with her husband David in a management consultancy business.

“I’m not normally lost for words, but I was on this occasion.

“For the club to want me to take up the role – and to be the first woman to do so – is a great honour. The club is very forward thinking. It offered equal playing rights to ladies, and golfing with the men has helped my game enormously.”

Mrs Pearson, who is the clerk and responsible financial officer of Oxenhope Parish Council, joined Keighley Golf Club when she was 18. Prior to that, tennis had been her sporting passion – she was a county player and a Lawn Tennis Association assistant professional.

She entered banking as a career and was the Yorkshire Bank’s youngest female manager in 1990, but later became disillusioned with the industry. “Most banks were ‘selling institutions’ instead of looking after the best interests of the customer,” she said.

On the golf course, Mrs Pearson – who is also a keen cyclist – plays off a handicap of six and regularly competes for the Yorkshire Veteran Ladies’ Golf Association.

She will follow in the club presidential footsteps of this year’s incumbent, Jamaica-born retired army captain Ripton Neil Wilson.

He joined the army in 1971 and quickly rose to the rank of regimental sergeant major before gaining a commission in 1990.

His service took him across the world, including Hong Kong, Germany and the Falklands.

The father-of-two and grandfather latterly ran the TA military hospital in Leeds until his retirement in 2011, when he became a JP. He said he was hugely proud to be president of the club.

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