Moira Milton the ‘modest champion’ passes away

Moira Milton was 'the most modest British champion', according to Liz Pook
Moira Milton was 'the most modest British champion', according to Liz Pook
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Moira Milton, who won the Ladies British Open Amateur Championship at Troon in 1952 as Moira Paterson and played in a victorious GB&I Curtis Cup team at Muirfield later that year, died on Tuesday night in a Wells, Somerset nursing home.

Born in 1923 in Lenzie, near Glasgow, she had her 88th birthday in December. She is survived by husband John Milton, 93.

Liz Pook, who won the British title in 1966 and 1967, said:last night: “Moira was without doubt the most modest British champion I have ever known.”

In the final, Milton, then 28 and a gym teacher in Kirkintilloch, beat former champion Frances Stephens of Birkdale at the 38th hole. The match, watched by a gallery of at least 2,000, lasted seven hours – the longest British final on record.

In the seventh Curtis Cup match, the same year at Muirfield, Milton was a member of the GB&I team who scored a famous 5-4 win over the United States. It was the first victory in the series by Great Britain and Ireland. Other Scots in the team were Jessie Valentine and Jean Donald.

Milton played for GB&I against both France and Belgium in 1949 and 1950.

She played for Scotland in the Women’s Home Internationals for four consecutive years from 1949 and played for her country against Australia in 1949.

Milton played out of Gullane Golf Club in the 1952 British final and was later made an honorary member of the club. She was also an honorary member of Lenzie GC and, at one time, was a member of Turnhouse and lived in Barnton before moving to England with her husband.

Milton, who was also runner-up in the French Women’s Open Amateur Championship in 1949, was a contemporary of Scottish legends Helen Holm, Jean Donald and Jessie Valentine which perhaps explains why, despite being British champion, she never won the equivalent Scottish title. In the 1950 Scottish Women’s Amateur Championship over the Old Course in St Andrews, she was beaten in the semi-finals. A year later at Nairn, she reached the final, only to lose 3 and 2 to Valentine.