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'Nice guy' golfer dies from CJD

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GORDON RITCHIE: continued working as long as his health would permit
GORDON RITCHIE: continued working as long as his health would permit

A 38-year-old professional golfer has died from the human form of mad cow disease.

Gordon Ritchie, from Lympne, near Folkestone, taught at the Hythe Imperial Golf Club for 18 years and was well known in the local golfing circuit.

Mr Ritchie was diagnosed with variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease in May last year but carried on working as long as his health would allow.

His brother Glenn and mother Elizabeth were among those at the funeral held at St Leonard's Church in Hythe and the club's flag was flown at half-mast as a tribute.

A close friend said: "There was a massive turn out at the funeral. He was such a nice guy."

Health experts have dismissed claims made in the national media that there is a cluster of deaths from the disease within a 30-mile radius of Ashford.

There has been speculation that the cluster could be linked to a chemical spill that happened 40 years ago in Smarden or that BSE infected water at Thruxted Mills, near Canterbury, contaminated the water supply. No evidence has been found to support these claims.

A post mortem found Mr Ritchie died from bronchial pneumonia and bleeding in the lungs brought on by the disease.


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