Club Historians Obituary- Mr. Ralph Overson, Membership No. 48
Intake Social Club, Doncaster
I was very sad to hear about the death, just before Christmas, of Ralph Overson, a life member of the Intake Club in Doncaster.
I was very fortunate to have met Ralph when I visited the club back in February 2011. He was one of a small group of regulars who came over to talk to me about the Intake over a half of lager or two. I was collecting information for my book and website at that time and I was able to record the friendly, funny and very informative chat we all had.
Ralph had so many good stories to tell and experiences to share and I included some of what he told me in my book. He is there as one of the grand club characters, an ordinary person who loved going to the club.
He came across as a lovely man, clever and clearly very committed to the Intake Club, which he joined in 1969. Prior to that, Ralph had done his National Service in the Royal Artillery, spending some of his time in Egypt working on tanks. He and his family were proud of his service record.
On ‘civvie street’, he worked firstly as a driver for Pickfords but then spent the rest of his working life as bus driver for the corporation. He was also a bus driver instructor-probably a very good one too!
Ralph told me of the ‘camaraderie of clubs that you don’t often find in pubs and there’s always games to play.’ He jokingly added that ‘you can get away from wife quite easy!’ His club mates sitting around the table reminded him that he couldn’t get too far away, as Rita, his wife of 59, was a club regular as well. They enjoyed visiting the club together and with their family, as many clubmen did and still do.
He contributed a lot to his club. When I spoke to him he told me about the setting up of the ‘over 55s’ snooker team. I quoted these words from his interview in Not Just Beer and Bingo!:
When they closed the mines, two chaps got it into their heads to start a league because everyone was sat round doing nowt. Them days all the clubs were full, dinner time. You go in clubs now and there’s hardly anybody in. This is one of the best clubs for somebody coming in at dinner time. That’s the top and bottom of it and they’ve been going ever since. Mostly the founder members are all gone, all dead. I’m one of the founder players, I was in my first game 25 years ago. When it first started, we had some good players in this club. There weren’t many years went by before we didn’t win something.
As the years and passed and players died, it became the over-50s league.
All those players like me who’s played all their life, and there’s quite a lot of them, they were all good players in their youth. Mis-spent youth obviously! And now we’re all over the hill. We can pot a few balls. But we go out to enjoy ourselves on the specific day. And that’s as simple as that, a couple of pints. You meet some lovely men, some lovely people. And they just go for a laugh now, not as though they take serious when you were younger.
Although Ralph claimed they were not out to win trophies, his clubmates pointed out that they did anyway. The special league formed to give men something to do when they lost their jobs, now offers something for those in later life. Playing club games is central in many older people’s lives and is an area that is well worth investigation in its own right.
He helped to set-up something that will live on, as a legacy.
Ralph passed away on December 22nd, just 2 days after his 82nd birthday, at home with his family. I was able to get a book to Ralph some months before he took poorly so that he could see himself, and some of his Intake club mates, in print. I hope that serves as some comfort to his family to know that his contributions and his memories are not lost.
The family have arranged a spray of flowers depicting number 48, his club membership number.
He was simply ‘an excellent club man’ as the club announcement of his death stated. Always generous and supportive of all the club’s efforts. He used to joke, ‘I never win anything in this club,’ even when collecting a prize! He made me laugh during the brief time I spent with him.
There will now be a large empty space that Ralph used to occupy.
I am so glad I met Ralph! God Bless and RIP.
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