OUR FEATURED MEMBER – ALAN CATTERSON
Thanks to Norman Burchfell for putting together this ‘life story’. Our subject this time is : Alan Catterson
Alan joined the club in 1993 and has now toured on 21 occasions with the West Sussex Bowls Touring Club. Although now living in Scarborough we are still honoured with his presence on our tours. Alan was born in the north-east in Sunderland making him a ‘Mackem’. Being of mining stock his grandfather joined his father down the pits being told that if he didn’t follow in his footsteps he would be out of a job. So grandfather did just that and finished up at Monkwearmouth Colliery where Sunderland Football Stadium – The Stadium of Light – now stands. Incidentally the name refers to the light on returning to the surface from the dark – not named after the Benfica Ground in Portugal. The Catterson family moved south when Alan was at an early age. At a time when his father was looking for work – there being much unemployment locally – his mother’s family assisted in resettling them again in Arundel where his other grandfather ran a family business as a wheelwright.
Alan attended junior school in Arundel and then progressed to Collyers Grammar School in Horsham – then an all-boys school with a longstanding reputation for excellence but now a successful mixed 6th Form College. It is of no doubt that it was here that Alan gained his appetite for sport especially cricket and his favourite sport football. Alan went on to play football for Arundel and Wick and cricket for Arundel and Fairways in Worthing.
After leaving school and trying a few jobs Alan spent a number of years in the Fleet Air Arm where he continued playing football for his stations – RNAS Portland, RNAS Daedalus and HMS Albion. Alan’s time in the Fleet Air Arm was certainly diverse. Initially trained as a radio mechanic he spent more than half of his time “misemployed” in the Drafting Office. This entailed dispatching Fleet Air Arm personnel to various postings and then finally Alan had a dream posting himself – working for 18months at the Royal Navy Football Association. With his love of football this was right up his street!
Shortly after getting married to Valerie Alan left the forces and entered ‘civvy street’. After losing a job due to a power worker’s strike Alan moved to Southern Water where he had a successful career for the remainder of his working life. He progressed to Middle Management with responsibility for a variety of works over the southern counties. Included in this was a role as highways liaison over the region which was not always easy with umpteen different highways departments!
Upon retirement Valerie and Alan sold up in Arundel and moved to Greece however after 6 years there and finding the winters too quiet they decided to return to the UK. They set up house again in Scarborough which was Valerie’s home town. They still retain a couple of properties in Greece and visit there at regular intervals.
Alan was talked into playing bowls by the much respected late tourist Harry Gosnell and by the standard of most of us has been very successful at both the indoor and outdoor games. Twice qualifying for the outdoor national triples finals at Worthing plus being the losing semi-finalist in the indoor national mixed pairs final in 1999 and 2000. Alan also achieved qualification to the indoor national triples finals at Melton Mowbray. On his return to the UK Alan joined Scarborough IBC and in 2014 was honoured with both the club captaincy and county captaincy of Yorkshire County Bowling association (Outdoors).
Alan plays for and is secretary to Scalby and Newby BC – a club having much success having won both their league and cup over the last two seasons.
When visiting the south coast Alan stays with either his daughter Mandy or son James who both still reside in Arundel. In 2016 Alan will be on home territory when the West Sussex Bowls Touring Club will be having their very first tour to Scarborough. Alan assures us that we will receive a very warm welcome at the clubs that we will be visiting.