nelson-born snooker legend Bob Catlow has died aged 73.
The first player to win this newspaper’s Golden Cue competition in the 1960s, Mr Catlow was regarded as the best player of his era, beating Alex Higgins, Dennis Taylor, John Spencer and John Pulman. He dominated the local snooker scene in the 1970s and early ’80s, with 14 century breaks and, with one of 119, the highest break in the history of the Golden Cue.
Mr Catlow won the tournament five times and lent his support to up-and-coming professional players at the club in Accrington he ran with his then wife, Wendy.
Former professional John Harrop remembered Mr Catlow, saying: “He was a really good player, very hard and focused; you didn’t want to come up against him. ”
He lived in Nelson in his youth, playing at Salem Youth Club and the Alexandra. He emigrated to Canada after a motorbike accident but returned to the UK to live in Burnley, becoming a member of Burnley Lane Central snooker team. He was the founder of the Elite Snooker Club in Burnley.
He won the Club and Institute Union championship five years in succession, learning from respected players at the Paradise Club, Read Constitutional Club, Byerden House and Bold Street Club, Accrington. He played regularly at the Unity Club and British Legion when he lived in Padiham, where he had a coal round in the 1970s. He also worked as a window cleaner and lorry driver.
Mr Catlow has three children, Ivan, Deborah, Karen and lived in Sabden after leaving Padiham.
A keen angler, Mr Catlow also enjoyed travelling and met his second wife, Leneé in New Zealand. She encouraged him to again take up snooker and they played at Rosegrove Unity and Whalley Conservative Club.
His sister, the late Dorothy Lee, will be remembered by many in Nelson as a hairdresser and local character.
Mr Catlow died at his home in Eightacre Avenue on Saturday. The funeral is at Padiham Unitarian Chapel on Wednesday at 2-15 p.m. followed by committal at Burnley Crematorium at 3 p.m.