Read this amazing letter from a daughter whose dad died of heart attack on the golf course

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir May 5, 2015 11:46

In February, Harvey Butterworth, a former golf club secretary, died of a heart attack at Haddington Golf Club in Scotland.

His daughter, Susanne, has written an emotional, heart warming letter thanking his playing partners for their help on that day, and detailing the life of her father.

The letter states that Harvey was devoted to golf and would even have wanted to have died on the golf course, but it is also difficult reading at times – Harvey’s wife and son died one day apart in 2009, and Susanne details the pain she experienced in having to deal with his other passion after his death – his pigeons.

This is the letter.

‘Thanks for all the help after my dad’s death

On February 27, 2015 my heart was broken.

My wonderful dad, Harvey Butterworth, died suddenly and unexpectedly of a heart attack on the first hole at Haddington Golf Club.

My heart goes out to the three men he was playing with that day. You are in my thoughts always.

My dad really did have a wonderful life. Qualifying as an optician at Heriot-Watt, he then went straight into the army to do his national service, mainly serving in Malaya at the appropriately named ‘Camp Butterworth’, and the remainder of his career was spent in Edinburgh.

All his days, golf and pigeons were his main two passions and the highlight of one of these came in 2009 with the pigeons, when ‘Bullet’ won the Reims race, flying 547 miles in 14 hours 10 minutes against a field of 450 birds.

pigeon neil hall

Image by Neil Hall

This was a very poignant race for my dad as it came in the same year he lost his wife Eileen and son Stewart, only a day apart.

Throughout his golfing career he also had many wins and successes – too many for me to list really. He was a life member at Tantallon and won club championship in 1959.

The Esmond Trophy was a big achievement, as was winning the same competitions aged 19 (I think) and then again aged 79.

He was also the secretary of Bass Rock Golf Club for some 25 years and the organiser of the Esmond Trophy for about 32 years.

He was a busy man all his life, right to his very end, dying the way he wanted to, on the golf course.

One of the more difficult things I had to deal with after my dad’s death was his pigeons, which I had spent many of my younger years helping with when living at Marmion Road in North Berwick.

With the help of Keith Cochrane and Dennis Grant, we were able to have a sale on March 14, raising enough money from this and the church collection to donate £250 to each of my dad’s five charities and I know he would be thrilled with this outcome. The charities were British Heart Foundation, CHAS, Guide Dogs for the Blind, British Red Cross and PDSA.

I would just like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who helped make the sale possible and everyone who kindly made donations in the church. I have been somewhat overwhelmed by this.

I would also like to thank Wood and Hay funeral directors for making everything run smoothly and helping me to give dad the best send-off ever, and, finally, the Rev Neil Dougall, who helped me immensely, more than words can say.

If anyone would like to keep in touch with me regarding the pigeons or even just to say a few words about my dad, please do email me:

With warmest thoughts to you all, from my heart.

Susanne Freer, daughter.’


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir May 5, 2015 11:46
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