Columnist Allan Blackburn: Driving hard bargain with golf memorabilia

Allan Blackburn, Owner of GB Antiques Centre and Lancaster Leisure Park
Allan Blackburn, Owner of GB Antiques Centre and Lancaster Leisure Park

So that’s it for another year. The World Cup is over, Wimbledon is finished and the Grand Prix is in in full swing with Lewis Hamilton winning at Silverstone a few weeks ago.

Did you feel for Murray? Did the best team win the World Cup? I shan’t get embroiled in that debate, but I’ve always been really interested in sport.

It’s been a continuous element of my life.

I have been a keen hockey player for more than 30 years and used to play for Preston Hockey Club.

I played more than 1,000 games before I retired in 1997 and took up coaching for several local teams instead.

I coached at Preston as well as at Kirkham Grammar School.

In 2001 and 2002, I was on the technical hockey committee for the organisation of Manchester’s Commonwealth Games.

In fact it was exactly 12 years ago last month that I acted as Venue Supervisor at the International Hockey test event which was held at the Belle Vue Hockey Centre from Friday June 14 until Sunday June 16. Teams from England, Ireland, Scotland and India took part.

I was one of six people on the team, all who had their own important role to play.

My job as Venue Supervisor involved ensuring all teams had the necessary equipment and facilities, as well as liaising with security, other volunteers and the venue’s management. I loved it.

Sport has always been important for me and I have made a lot of good friends through my love of hockey and cricket.

Both the company’s accountant and solicitor are former hockey team-mates.

I couldn’t have driven the business this far without them, so I’m grateful to sport for introducing me to them.

Nowadays, I enjoy a round of golf with my friends, weather and work commitments permitting.

Golf memorabilia has an almost fanatical following of collectors in the UK. We have many good pieces in the centre.

It is not however a particularly cheap area of collecting and is full of forgeries, so buy from a reputable dealer and do a lot of research before you part with your money.