Fred Cook passed away on 21st January 2016 after a short illness and only a few days after his 85th birthday. It had only been a few short weeks prior to this that his second wife, Ann, had died after a period of ill health.
He had started shooting in the early 1950’s with the Newcastle Post Office club after completing his national service in the RAF and was selected for the Northumberland county team. He subsequently moved to Teesside where, after a short stint with the MTASSA club, he joined the ICI club, Billingham Synthonia, and continued to shoot there until the company sold off the sports facilities and the club was disbanded.in 1994. During his time there he was a regular member of the A team alongside the likes of Joe Craven, Trevor Norman and Maurice Lovell and they formed a formidable team. Fred won the Vaux competition, an unofficial Northern championship, on three separate occasions against stiff opposition and his performance in the 50 yards and metres league saw him qualify for the Wakefield team in 1979. It was also during his time at Billingham that he scored 400 in the National League and became a member of the British 400 club regularly competing in that clubs competitions. He was also selected to represent the Yorkshire county team and, after the boundary changes, the Durham & Cleveland county team. He eventually joined Darlington Railway Athletic club and shot there, both rifle and air pistol, until his eventual move to Herefordshire.
Throughout the 1980’s and 90’s he cared for his first wife, Peggy, who slowly succumbed to the ravages of multiple sclerosis and he took early retirement to enable him to care for her properly. Despite this he was unfailing happy and cheerful and a pleasure to be with, always ready for a laugh and joke. He gave shooting his best efforts but never appeared to take it too seriously.
After her death and whilst visiting his daughter, Helen, who had settled in Australia he was to meet Ann and they subsequently married and settled in Herefordshire.
Fred then joined the Golden Valley and Marches clubs proving yet again what a valuable club member he was, not only on the shooting front but also when it came to the inevitable working parties and he collected yet another county team badge for Herefordshire. His services to the sport were recognised by his being invited to join the Centipede club.
He was an ever present face at open meetings and both National meetings, where he made his way into the English Home Countries team, and was still competing in X class, and featuring in the prizes, when he decided that the walking at Bisley was becoming too much. Throughout the period he was also a regular member of the Civil Service representative small bore teams and always attended the championships at Hendon. He had still been shooting regularly up until shortly before being taken ill and was still capable of attaining good results.
He was one of life’s true gentlemen and he will be sadly missed by his friends in the sport and by his remaining family, son Michael, daughters Helen and Janice and his beloved granddaughters. The bell rang on his final detail much too early.