HONOURED FOR SERVICES TO THE GAME:
Cornish Guardian July 16 1999
A stalwart of women's golf on both the county and national scene was honoured for her services to the game with an invitation to the first garden party of the summer at Buckingham Palace last week, writes Peter Heyman.
West Cornwall member Sonia Harvey, who has fulfilled several administrative roles at club, county, regional and national level over a number of years – including as one of two England representatives on the LGU Council at St Andrews – made the long trip to the capital last week. "I'm afraid it was a bit of a washout as there was a thunderstorm going on," Sonia recalled. "All I saw of the Queen was the tip of her umbrella!" But all was not wasted as the previous evening she had been given a guided tour of the House of Lords by Baroness May Blood, of Belfast, the first Irish life peer and a member of the peace movement. "That was a fascinating insight into the workings of the House of Lords and made the trip worthwhile," Sonia added.
The 65-year-old former probation officer, who has just completed her five-year stint as an England representative on the LGU Council, has also spent the last three years as the LGU's chairman of rules and regulations. This has led her to travel extensively throughout the country, and the South West in particular, giving seminars on the rules of golf, passing on her expertise to clubs wherever she goes. She is also a Royal & Ancient qualified referee. Indeed, she was in charge at the South West Girls Championship at Bude & North Cornwall on Sunday and last year even refereed a men's event, the County Championship played on her home course.
Sonia came to golf relatively late in life, not taking up the game until 1981 at the age of 37. She claims to have been "a person who plays golf" rather than a dedicated player, though she was good enough to partner former multiple county ladies' champion Judith Ryder to victory in the Daily Mail National Foursomes final in Northumberland in 1986. She was runner-up the following year with another West Cornwall partner Joanne Barnes (now Joanne Body) by which time she was playing off a handicap of six. Having given up her roles with the English Women's Golfing Association (EWGA) and LGU, Sonia already confesses to "missing it all a bit". But she still intends to carry on with her seminars and as a referee. "I've thoroughly enjoyed my time in golf and have met some wonderful people and great players, including some of the top women pros," she said.
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