Golf: Derek’s England call - at age of 76

England Deaf squad - with Derek Bridges sat far left, bottom row.

England Deaf squad - with Derek Bridges sat far left, bottom row.

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A great grandad crossed the Atlantic to fly the flag for England last month - at the age of 76.

Derek Bridges, of Norton, was selected for the England Deaf Golf Team to compete at the World Championships in Michigan, USA.

Derek - who has a handicap of 14 - was the oldest male competitor at the event which was made up of men’s, women’s and senior teams.

He qualifies for the event due to being 95 per cent deaf in his right ear and 70 per cent in his left, and has been for nearly 40 years.

Team England were one of 14 countries represented at the tournament that boasts the likes of Lee Westwood and Tony Jacklin as patrons, in Traverse City.

Derek admits that representing his country at 76 came as a bit of a surprise, but says he loved every minute of it.

“It was very good, beyond all belief really,” he said.

“I couldn’t represent my country in the sport I used to play - rugby league - but at my age to represent my country was fantastic.

“It went very well as well, the senior team came fourth and the men’s team came second so it was brilliant.”

Derek also represented Team England in an Order of Merit tournament in Bristol earlier this month.

He is now looking forward to a number of events in the near future, including the Home Internationals and the European Championships in Denmark next year.

Granddaughter Sam said the rest of the family were equally as proud of his achievements.

“I think it’s a fantastic achievement and all his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren are extremely proud of him,” she said.

“To be selected to play for England at his age proves it isn’t too late to represent your country.”

Anyone interested in deaf golf, or wanting more information, should visit www.yorkshiredeafgolf.co.uk.

Yorkshire’s society for deaf golf works to support and encourage players, beginners and veterans alike.