Funeral arrangements: Cecil Wells – 1930-2011

Sunshine Tour veteran rules official Cecil Wells passed away in Pretoria on Thursday July 7 aged 81.

He had battled illness which struck him down while he was doing what he loved best – officiating in a golf tournament as he was taken to hospital from the Sunshine Big Easy Tour presented by Stonehage event at Glendower Golf Club.

Wells, who started working as a rules official on the Sunshine Tour in 1996, leaves his wife of 59 years Theresa, a son, a daughter, a grandson and a great granddaughter.

He also leaves a host of professional golfers who remember him with great affection as an adjudicator who ruled fairly and with great precision and sympathy – and as an irrepressible story-teller with an ability to remember an extraordinary range of funny tales.

He spent 39 years in the South African Air Force, and while his principal task was flying, he became renowned as a sportsman.

He was a feared boxer, and he won the light-heavyweight titles of both the SA Defence Force and SA Air Force from 1949 through to 1951.

He gave up boxing for seven years when he got married, but Cecil was approached again to fight and duly won the light-heavyweight championship again in 1958. He was then asked to fight in the heavyweight division and spent many a tea-time being fed cream cakes and sandwiches to bulk up. He did, and ended up winning that title too.

He was also an excellent squash player, representing Northern Transvaal and winning both the open and veterans championships in the same year. He was also a dominant figure in SA Defence Force and SA Air Force squash, winning titles over men many years his junior.

After retiring from the air-force in 1985, he became heavily involved in golf administration and he was elected president of Northern Transvaal golf, and soon after president of the Transvaal Golf Union.

In 1994, he became president of the South African Golf Union and after his term expired in 1996, was approached by the Sunshine Tour to become a rules official as Theo Manyama was the only person able to officiate at that time.

While he was not working on the tour, he played golf regularly, playing with his pensioner group every Tuesday and on Saturdays at the Services Club, the old SA Defence Force club in Thaba Tshwane in Pretoria.

He was regarded with great affection by his fellow rules officials, and his humour and forbearance was always a source of pleasure for the staff of the Sunshine Tour.

His contribution will be greatly missed.

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