George Curley – A Personal History
George Curley – our President for 33 years
Well! I asked George for a little background on a life which, I knew, had been pretty full and active, but was not quite expecting the diary of such an extensive career history. It is so interesting and detailed that I decided to add a page showing George not only as the Choir President, but as an incredibly active sportsman and community leader from an early age. I hope you find it as inspiring as I do.
Born in 1936, George was, from an early age, a member of the Watchhorn Church in Alfreton and was an active member of the Watchorn Youth Club and, at the age of 11, became Secretary and Treasurer.
From 1948 to 1954, George was in the 3rd Alfreton Company of the Boys Brigade and achieved all ranks up to Lieutenant. At the same time he was a Boy Boxer with Billy Shinfield & Wilson Ainsworth Gymnasiums appearing in many clubs in the Derby and Nottingham areas.
In 1949, George played tennis on the courts owned by Watchorn Church. There was no club as such, Sunday school members paid a nominal fee to the caretaker/groundsman Mr Bernard Barlow. At the age of 13 George founded the Watchorn Tennis Club which, originally, formalised the use of the courts for church members but soon became extended to non members. He was secretary for 16 years, President for a number of years and is now an Honorary Life Member. The foundations laid down by George have stood well as the team has twice won an award for being the best club in the country .Oh, and by the way, George was Watchorn Men’s Singles champion for 16 years, runner up in the Ashbourne Open Championships in Single, Doubles and Mixed Doubles 12 times.
From 1952 – 1954 he played for Swanwick boys Football Club and was a founder member and player of Alfreton Town Juniors Football Club. He played with, and was on the Committee of, the Alfreton Miners Welfare Football Club which eventually amalgamated with Alfreton Athletic to become Alfreton Town FC.
Just to fill in his spare time (?) George was Captain of the Alfreton team in the County Table Tennis League and was Singles and Doubles Champion. He qualified to compete in the English Open Table Tennis Championships at the Empire Pool, Wembley and Belle Vue Manchester and he was losing finalist in the Daily Mirror National Championships which were held here in 1954.
Still not enough to keep George busy, in 1953 he was the last to be admitted to the Royal Auxiliary Air Force (616 Squadron) Pre- National Service and the first ever to be admitted before National Service. 2 years National Service saw George achieve the rank of Senior Aircraftman. Never far from interesting events, George’s Commanding Officer was Sqdn. Ldr. Buck Casson who, famously, flew with Douglas Bader; even more interestingly, in 2006 (after Buck’s death) news was released that it was he who had shot down Douglas Bader in friendly fire.
Of course, George played football for, and was the table tennis champion of, the squadron.
He’s still only 20 and seems to have filled 2 of my lifetimes already.
In 1956 with the Suez crisis on and fuel rationing in force, George returned to The Butterley Company and went to assist in the wages office; unfortunately there were two people who George could not get on with so he asked for a move. It was agreed that he could take a temporary job, and retain continuous service on his return, so he spent 19 months as a bus conductor on Midland General and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
To Be Continued
If you would like to read more of George’s story, please go to the Contact Page and fill out the Enquiry Form – or email direct to firstname.lastname@example.org (then I will know someone is there).
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