All at NORC are devastated to hear the news of Graham's passing. I can't improve on his good friend Gavin's excellent thoughts below but would on behalf of NORC like to pass on our condolences to his wife Catherine and sons, Charles and Harry.
Graham was a lovely gentleman and a great friend and ambassador for the club for many years. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him.
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Gavin Lodge, our official photographer and his good friend for many years has thoughtfully written the following.
Graham was a time served, apprentice trained mechanic, and a bloody good one at that!
Funnily enough lots of mechanics, spend their spare time being mechanics and often find their way into motorsport. A 21 year old Graham was no exception, rallying a £150 mini in 1978. Not surprisingly the funding for this project ran out rather too quickly, so motorcycle trials became the chosen (and more affordable) pastime.
Back then Graham worked for a local garage who specialised in Land Rovers and Subaru's (mostly the agricultural versions) which in turn lead to visiting the occasional "Pennine trial" and events organised by the new and exciting Northern Off Road Club. Graham turned a few heads at this point, driving John Wright's multiple AWDC championship winning car at Tong for a magazine article, but a growing family, increasing work commitments and like many of us, lack of disposable income prevented further interest in this pastime for another ten or more years.
By the age of forty Graham had risen to the post of service manager at Rocar Moores in Huddersfield and although the tool box was no longer required for his day job, Graham could be found restoring an old NORC leaf sprung class winner in his mums garage. This was eventually wheeled out to win a few more pots in 1998.
A coil sprung 3.9 V8 powered Land Rover came next, speedily driven to "runner up spot" in the NORC championship of 2000.
Graham became NORC chairman for 2001, but a further project beckoned, with a "budget" Tomcat being built for 2002 Welsh Hillrally.
However, Graham had also become involved with fellow NORC competitor Richard Kershaw's race programme, both helping to engineer the car and co-driving his near neighbour to a string of British Cross Country titles (with the odd hillrally victory and the 2002 NORC championship thrown in along the way). This amazingly successful partnership lasted for a decade, but when Richard moved to "a works drive" with Milner Off Road, Graham decided it was time to hang up his helmet, but not his overalls as there was still a 1956 series one awaiting restoration at the back of the garage. Graham never left the sport that he loved and despite a long running battle with cancer, would regularly be seen at events, renewing old acquaintances and looking at the ever changing vehicle technology.
Graham passed away peacefully, on the morning of Tuesday 2nd of December. A tragic loss to all who loved him and a great loss to our sport.
So how does a free lunch, free camping and as close to the action as you can get sound - what about marshaling for our last event of the season at Newstead Abbey. This is a great venue and we need as many marshals as we can get hold of. It's a great way of getting an introduction to the sport and you'll be helping the club out lots. You don't need a vehicle as it's possible to marshal on foot and anyone can do it, as a full briefing will be given. Email chief marshal on contact us page or let us know on the Northern Off Road Club Facebook page if you're interested. Without marshals the club can't run events so if you're a member that's not racing do your bit. We will need them for all events run next season too.