GEORGE Douglas Verity, the son of Yorkshire and England’s legendary left arm spin bowler Hedley Verity, was an accomplished sportsman in his own right but only able to find the freedom to be himself by leaving his native county.
The 78-year-old lived for much of his life in North Wales where he worked as a golf professional and pursued his love of mountain climbing.
He was always proud of the achievements of his father who died during the Second World War, but as a young man playing league cricket was dogged by suggestions that he was only there because of his father. It was one such incident which led him to realise he must leave Yorkshire.
Douglas Verity was born in Rawdon, near Leeds, the younger son of Hedley and Kathleen Verity and was given his names after his father’s cricketing heroes George Hirst, the Yorkshire all-rounder and Douglas Jardine who captained England during the Bodyline tour of Australia. Douglas was born in 1933 shortly after his father returned from Australia after playing under Jardine in that series.
Mr Verity was educated at Littlemoor School, Rawdon, where he and his brother Wilfred were taught by their aunt, Grace Verity whose pupils at the time also included two future Yorkshire cricketers Brian Close and Bryan Stott.
The young Verity later went to Woodhouse Grove School at Apperley Bridge, near Bradford.
He was only 10 when his father, a captain in the 1st Battalion the Green Howards, died from wounds he received while leading his men in action at Sicily, in 1943. His wife Kathleen was left with two young boys to bring up on a widow’s pension, and for some years life was a struggle.
Eventually Wilfred opened a photographic shop in Otley, while Douglas, as he later put it, “scraped a living” as a groundsman and professional in league cricket in the Bradford League.
In 1975, Wilfred was killed by a runaway cattle trailer while walking with his young son, Hedley, near their Otley home. Hedley was seriously injured, but survived, and still lives in Yorkshire.
Douglas, a keen climber, having decided to leave Yorkshire, became manager at Pen-y-Gwryd, the climbers’ club in North Wales where he became a respected and trusted leader on the mountains and was one of the early volunteers before the formation of the Snowdonia Mountain Rescue Team.
It was during this time he met Ann who was to become his wife, and they married in 1963.
He later went on to a career as a golf professional, firstly at Bangor Golf Club and then on St David’s Day, 1970 was appointed at Pwllheli where he stayed for 30 years.
He retired in May 1998 and the following year was given the rare accolade for a professional of being made club captain.
As a lover of the countryside he was also a keen bird watcher, as well as a keen feeder of them.
He loved music and was an accomplished clarinetist. He was also widely read, particularly of political and military history and the works of John Betjeman who wrote a lot about golf.
He never forgot his own roots and his pride and that of the county in his father’s achievements.
Three years ago he returned to Leeds to unveil a blue plaque erected by Leeds Civic Trust outside the house in Welton Grove, Burley, where Hedley was born, not far from Headingley Cricket Ground.
Mr Verity is survived by his wife Ann, sons Charles and James, and grandchildren India and Siena.