Keith Eustace-Pedlar - 11 August 1943 - 30 March 2017
Thank you for the laughs Mr Swinger
We were setting up for the Season 2 Final at Manor House in Castle Combe, Wiltshire on a cold spring day, when there was a knock on our office door. In walked this chap with a big beard and jolly smile and a big west country accent with a delivery of cheese for me. ‘Hi Paul, it’s Keith. I’ve just sailed over on the ferry from France and driven straight here. I’ve brought some cheese for you.’ It took me a while to register, but soon put two and two together and realised that this was indeed Keith Eustace-Pedlar, the chap who had been storming up the Fun league playing golf in France. He’d got my attention on the leaderboards as he was our only French Swinger. I never expected him to accept our final invite (in those days, it was a one day event), but here he was sailing all night to get to us.
Originating from the West Country as I did, we talked about his background and how he’d only taken up golf that year again after a long injury layoff and then he was on his way. If only I’d knew then what I know now – that Keith was to become our most important Swinger, a symbol of everything we stand for. Instead, at the time, having only been running Swingers for less than a year, I pondered why someone I didn’t know would travel across the channel carrying cheese for me. But this was Keith all over. He always put everyone else first, whether they were best friends, or new Swingers he had just met.
The following day – our Season 2 Final, the heavens opened, and it rained like never before. The course was almost unplayable (this was the first and last ever winter final we ran!). Many of the finalists walked in but towards the back of the field Keith carried on with help from his playing partner Carole Bedingfield who he met that day. Carole stayed with him to mark his card, as Keith racked up 35pts to win the Fun Swingers competition. Keith won a pair of economy tickets to a destination of his choice and this cemented his love affair with Swingers and indeed Virgin Atlantic.
Keith returned to play in our Season 3 Final at Goodwood where he took great delight in meeting Sir Richard Branson’s mum Eve, a guest on the day.
We next saw Keith at the Season 5 Final in California where be really began to take on his legendary status. Keith, although losing the fourballs, had a resounding singles win against Bill Wilson to help take Europe into the play offs, but it was his personality off the golf course which really stood out. Keith would have been the first to admit he wasn’t our youngest Swinger, but the enthusiasm and energy he showed made him THE team player on and off the fairways. I will never forget our Kayak excursion. It still rates the most memorable thing we have ever done – the amazing sunset, the dolphins, beautiful Laguna Beach but even more memorable was Keith with his dodgy leg absolutely determined with some assistance to get into a Kayak and join in the laughs with the rest of the group, when it would have been easier to hang back and join in with the BBQ later. This summed Keith up – always there, always wanting to join in with the banter.
Keith was back with us for the Season 6 Final at Mannings Heath, where he remained unbeaten all week. These were a particularly lively bunch of finalists, and it made us chuckle as we awoke one morning to news of Keith being ‘special guest’ at a wedding taking place the night prior, despite never having met the bride or groom before that evening. And sure enough there was a picture of Keith with the bride wearing Rockstar sunglasses looking like they were lifelong friends!
Keith’s last final appearance with us was in Season 9 in Miami, a city Keith loved. We even bumped into him there on a site visit, as Keith loved travelling to the States to meet up with family and play golf, always on Virgin Atlantic wherever possible! Once more this larger than life character lit up our final with his union jack shorts. He was also reunited with our cabin crew member Fran who Keith had met at both the S5 and S6 finals. Fran was also from Devon, so they often talked about the West Country.
Despite not making any more finals, Keith status within Swingers grew and grew. His love of travel and Virgin Atlantic led him to Gold member status, so he regularly got invited to our Gold days – it was always so nice to see his friendly face arrive at the registration desk.
When we started our society days, Keith attended every single one. As his health deteriorated, which meant his golf inevitably suffered, he remained the Swinger that everyone gravitated to. Always with a smile on his face, we’d often meet up with him the night prior and share a drink as the other regular Swingers used to. Next morning he’d be there bright and early enthusiastically showing off his new pink golf shoes or his pink driver and ready to board his buggy for another Swingers day. Keith loved his bright clothes which matched his sparkling personality.
Despite his struggles to compete on these days, every single day we would get requests to be paired with Keith – this was the personality that he was. We even got requests from new Swingers who had never met him but had heard of his legendary status. This led to him being nicknamed by us Mr Swinger – he was the figure head, and he knew it! But it never changed his ways. Whilst we would often get moans and gripes about handicaps, unfair rules and the rest, Keith never once complained about anything. He saw Swingers for what it was meant to be – a fun competition that brought people together and made friendships, and my word what friendships he made.
I’m sure I’ve missed out many other things about Keith that were equally special, so apologies for this – there are just so many magical moments to recount.
I last spoke to Keith two weeks ago. Having been worried that I had not heard from him for a couple of months, I was delighted when true to form he signed up to all our days again for 2017. He took great delight in telling me he was on his way to a Country and Western Festival at the O2 – another one of his passions.
To receive the news of Keith’s passing on Saturday evening marked the end of an era. If Swingers ended tomorrow, Keith would be my abiding memory. He was a loyal supporter but most importantly a friend to Luke and myself. His loss to Swingers and especially our Society days is immense. We will do everything we can to give Keith a fitting tribute, but the biggest tribute you can all give him is to take Keith’s spirit on board. Compete as a good sport in this wonderful league and our society days with fun, laughter, and friendships, and raise a drink or a putter to Keith – Mr Swinger. Let’s make S14 the best with a smile on our faces for our friend.
If anyone else would like to share their memories of Keith, please email theim to us at email@example.com and we will add them below.
I first met Keith at the Castle Coombe season 2 final. I had introduced two friends at my golf club, Carol Bedingfield and Doug Butler, to Virgin Swingers. They got into the final – I didn’t! But I decided to keep them company and we all travelled up the day before so they could have a practice round. We were a couple of holes in when a greenkeeper came over and asked if we minded having a solo player who had come over from France join us? That was Keith. We had a great game and a very long night swapping jokes and stories. It paid off, because the next day Carol was drawn to partner Keith. I waited in the clubhouse as player after player abandoned their game in the torrential rain, but Carol could see that Keith was doing well and bravely battled on with him! From that day on, we were all firm friends, meeting up whenever Keith was in the UK for (usually) a Virgin event.
Keith was a very generous friend : I knew he had a house on the river Lot and we often talked about his boat. One day, I asked if I could borrow the boat sometime and take a trip up the river? He didn’t hesitate. The only stipulation was that I took and passed the Inland Waterways exam (a French requirement) and the boat was mine for as long as I wanted! Four of us had a memorable holiday drifting up and down the Lot and, not only would Keith take no payment for the use of his boat, he was always in the background to help with local knowledge and suggest restaurants to try, etc.
He battled on with various health problems over the years but was determined nothing would stop him playing his beloved golf. He once sent me a long email from a French hospital, where he told me all the problems they were having as they were undergoing a terrorist attack. It sounded horrendous. It was only some months later I discovered the email was written under the influence of major narcotics and was a complete fiction!
When he moved to Leamington, I would visit him for dinner and a catch-up when I was in town for bowls matches and he always dropped in to see me on his way to and from the ferry to France. We would stock up on supplies before a large English breakfast brunch. On his last visit, we played with his latest toy (another new car!) and off he went.
I was shocked to get the email from Verity that Keith had died only a few days later. I miss him.
Being a fairly new member of the flying club golf league I only spoke to Keith on a couple of occasions. However, in those brief moments I got to see how much of a Gentleman he truly was. Taking part in the memorial day will be a fitting way for us all to pay tribute to him and help raise money for the charity that was so close to his heart.
I started in season five for a bit of fun ( it still is ) I have never attended any events but in season six I had a play request from Keith - so I thought it would be rude not to ! Indeed Keith was keen to fix a game with me in the morning and then hot-foot it up to Old Thorns in the afternoon.The weather was kind to us , a lovely sunny June morning so i thought I would get to the course early ready to welcome him….well I turned up and there was a lovely warm figure waiting outside our club in the brightest yellow shirt imaginable !! I knew that he was keen and enthusiastic and I did give him a bit of a pasting but he still had a huge smile on his face.We had the most enjoyable time and a damn good laugh ! I enjoyed listening to his home life in France and he extended a return game if ever I went over to France ( alas I never fulfilled ). I will always cherish that day and seeing him drive off to Old Thorns with the same warm smile that he had when he arrived at Petersfield .
A gentleman and a gentle man - Thanks for the memory - R.I.P Keith
I didn't know him well but on the couple of occasions I met him I can honestly say he was a gentleman and earned my respect instantly.
My first experience with Keith was at the final at Manning Heath. He put me at ease and after one conversation I felt I had known him for years.
He was friendly and encouraging to me. We laughed and joked and he made me feel like I belonged. I know he was popular amongst Swingers and I know the world has lost one of its nice people. Rest in peace Keith.
Only met Keith twice the first time at the Castle Coombe final and he made a lasting impression on me with his enthusiasm and jolly disposition.
I followed his results on the Swingers site and he will surely be missed. The loss of a real gentleman.
First met Keith at S5 final at Monarch Beach. We struck up a long time friendship after sharing a kayak in Laguna Beach. He was such a pleasure to be with and his love of life was unsurpassed. He will be missed dearly and I plan to finally pop the cork on the gift he brought to Mannings Heath for S6 final in his memory. RIP buddy!!!
It will be such a shame not to see him at any more events. Keith had a wicked sense of humour and it was always a pleasure to spend time with him on and off the golf course, I`ve only known Keith for a few years, his stature and presence within Swingers is legendary. Looking back over the many occasions we have met and they all bring a smile to my face, that is the effect Keith had on people, he will be missed
Keith's was the first name I really became aware of when I joined Swingers years ago. I watched with interest as he progressed up the leaderboard. When I eventually met him at a Society Day I discovered what a really nice man he was. He will be truly missed, especially at Society days this year.
His contribution to Swingers right from Season 1 is unique and massive. He remains an absolute legend. I will always remember the humour and spirit with which he approached his golf. I think this rubbed off on very one he met. Keith embodied the Spirit of Swingers and our lives have all been better to have known him.
I’ll always remember Keith standing with us at the tee last year at Moor Park. Even though he wasn’t going to be able to play because of the buggy ban, he still turned out and gave everyone support and encouragement as we tee’d of at the start of the round and he was there waiting when we came in.
He was truly the spirit of the Swingers – I just wish I’d had the chance to play with him.
I first played with Keith on the first day of the new format of the Swingers finals, in the day one betterball matches at Monarch Beach. We were beaten by John Mercer and Andrew Davies that beautiful morning, but needless to say Keith was as happy and effervescent at the end of that round (and the gruelling trip), as he ever was. I've seen and played with him several times since and he was a proper good guy, friendly, jolly, enthusiastic and sincere. I still have the ball marker he gave me from Golf de Barthe in France, and I will be using it this weekend on the Carnoustie Championship course. Rest in Peace Keith
I was fortunate to represent Europe at Monarch Beach some years ago and even more fortunate to be in a team with Keith who was perfect company over the course of the serious part of the event and the fun times had off the course. A true gentleman who I am sure has made a lasting and good impression on many lives. Keith I hope you rest in peace.
I first met Keith on the way to Turnberry Isle for the Season 9 Swingers final in Miami. I knew his name already, and he seemed to always be a good-natured presence on the discussion board, but nothing could have prepared me for the amazing mix of fun, kindness and mischief that Keith exhibited at all times. It was such a pleasure to be on the same team as him and there is no doubt in my mind that Keith was the absolute embodiment of everything Swingers should be. He wore a constant smile, and was always ready with a witty word for anyone who might be passing by. I know that he had some health issues at the time, but he showed serious grit and determination to battle through his matches at Turnberry Isle in the most inspirational way, cheerful all the while.
Aside from a couple of messages after the final, those few days were my only experience with Keith, but he made such an instant impression that I will never forget him. Without a doubt, Keith was the loveliest and kindest person I ever met on a golf course, and I hope that I will think of him every time I tee it up from now on, to remind me what a golfer should be.