A father tragically committed suicide after being fired by a golf club due to the financial impact of the Covid pandemic, an investigation has found.
Greenkeeper Dave Everett worked at Lyme Regis Golf Club for 33 years but lost his job after being made redundant due to “serious financial difficulties” with the club’s costs “exceeding income”.
A coroner heard how Mr. Everett’s family said he was “completely devastated” when he lost his job at Timber Hill Golf Club.
Investigation learned he was one of five greenkeepers employed at the club – which was founded in 1893 and described as one of the best in the South West of England – and that he already had was the chief greenkeeper.
His widow Julie told the inquest in Taunton that club committee members said he was suffering “serious financial hardship with costs exceeding income” as a result of Covid and “needed a radical overhaul to lower the costs”.
She said Mr. Everett was offered a “financial outing” and members mistakenly believed he had taken early retirement.
She said one of the five greenkeepers had to leave and the others had financial commitments with mortgages or children.
Mr Everett, 61, of Chard, offered to work a few hours a week with a base salary but was told the club couldn’t even afford it.
Ms. said: “He didn’t want to leave the place he loved.”
She said he was in tears when he returned to the club and found out he spent money when he said he was bankrupt and hired a new member of the greenkeepers team.
She added: “He felt broken. He had worked most of his life at the golf club and it had destroyed him.”
His son Scott said: “He put his heart and soul into Lyme Regis Golf Club. ”
He added that he “was loved by everyone, that he had a fantastic network of friends” and that “this job was everything” for him.
Mr Everett was found in the woods near the Staple Hill parking lot in Neroche, near Chard, on an October morning of this year by walkers.
Somerset Senior Coroner Tony Williams has recorded a suicidal finding.
“Well-respected staff member”
After the hearing, Lyme Regis Golf Club President John Coley said: “David was a highly respected member of the green staff who loyally served the club for 33 years, mostly as the Chief Greenkeeper. .
“During this time he has built a committed and reliable team and to his credit two of the team are still with us after 25 years.
“He has led a number of major projects: the redesign and construction of the new route; installation of the new irrigation system; the narrow strip of the most draining greens and the renovation of all the bunkers on the course.
“He was well aware of budget constraints, was attentive and proactive about costs and established good relationships with several treasurers.”
Manager Arthur Daines added: “His departure was a very difficult decision for the club to make in the face of the uncertainties of Covid and every effort has been made to manage his departure appropriately.
“Members overwhelmingly elected him Honorary Club Fellow in recognition of his excellent service and were all delighted to hear that he went on to secure a position with Taunton and Pickeridge GC.
“Afterwards we were also devastated by the news of his sad passing and everyone at the club offers their condolences to his family. The club has lost a great servant and we will recognize him with a permanent memorial on the course.”