Keith Bass, a giant of Norfolk junior golf, is mourned
- Credit: Eastern Daily Press, Archant
Keith Bass, a man who played a major role in the development of junior golf in Norfolk and beyond, has died at the age of 89.
A more than useful player himself, Keith was determined to give something back to the game he loved as he grew older and worked tirelessly to help youngsters fulfil their potential.
His name will live on through various competitions named in his honour, including the Bass Trophy, a retirement gift to the county for a new inter-club league offering matchplay opportunities for juniors.
Keith was born and brought up in Peterborough, where he lived until he decided to relocate to Sheringham 29 years ago, after enjoying his holiday visits to Norfolk with his wife Joyce, who he married in September 1945.
Already a key figure in Peterborough junior golf he quickly took on a similar role at Sheringham – and it wasn't long before he was a key man at a county level, with the benefits of his tireless work still being felt today.
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Keith took up golf in 1950 and became a junior organiser at his home club of Peterborough Milton in 1965. He later became Northants junior orgainiser, a role he held between 1975 and 1986.
As soon as he and Joyce relocated to Norfolk Keith became a member at Sheringham and quickly weaved his magic with the juniors there. He was a natural choice as Norfolk junior organiser and carried out that role with distinction from 1987 to 2002.
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He launched the EDP Norfolk Junior Foursomes Championship for boys and girls, started county championships at under-14 and under-16 level and introduced age group county coaching for under-14s, under-16s and under-18s. Another innovation was a triangular match for the BUT Trophy, organised with the junior organisers of Bedfordshire and Leicestershire.
It wasn't just in Norfolk that Keith was renowned for his work with young golfers. He also served on the English Golf Union junior committee between 1996 and 2005, representing the interests of Norfolk, Suffolk, Bedfordshire and Essex. During that time his enthusiasm for the game, and organisational qualities, helped countless young golfers from Norfolk and well beyond fulfil their potential.It was certainly a tough decision when he decided it was finally time to step down from his work with young golfers as he moved into his 80s.
'I love it, absolutely love it. Leaving it is going to be a wrench, a tremendous wrench,' he said.
Keith was a busy man but still found time to be Sheringham captain from 1991-92 and Norfolk CGU president between 1999 and 2000.
He was also a decent player, getting his handicap down to as low as five, but he said of his own game: 'I was a social golfer rather than a competitive golfer. I just enjoyed the golf and went for a beer afterwards!'
Before turning his attention to golf Keith was also a keen rugby player and had hopes of playing at a high level before suffering concussion in a match and calling it a day.
He served his country for four years during the Second World War as a member of the 45 Royal Marine Commandos, after signing up while under-age. After leaving the services he worked as a salesman, specialising in toys, and played a key role in bringing the Barbie doll to the UK during his time with Mattel, for whom he was national sales manager. He later worked for Norwich-based Tom Smith crackers. Keith is survived by his wife, daughters Christine and Melanie, four grandchildren and five great grandchildren. His funeral will take place at St Peter's Church, Sheringham on Tuesday, April 21 (11.30am).