Grass Roots: Former postman Joe still enjoys a round (of golf)... at the age of 82!

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An 82-year-old cancer survivor and widower from Sheffield is using golf to help him get back on course, 40 years after first taking up the game.

Joe Canetti, whose family emigrated to Sheffield from Genoa in Italy in the 1850s, re-joined Beauchief Golf Course in January this year, after initially leaving five years ago to look after his wife, Pauline, who was suffering from Parkinson’s disease.

Pauline passed away in 2012, a day before her 75th birthday. And two days after her funeral, Joe himself was diagnosed with bladder cancer.

But after life-saving surgery and regular chemotherapy, Joe pulled through and is now arguably the fittest 82-year-old in Sheffield.

To re-invigorate himself, Joe took up golf once more and also started cycling.

“I’d been in such a dark place after losing Pauline and being diagnosed with cancer,” he said.

“When I started playing golf at Beauchief again, it felt like I was coming home.

“It’s a lovely set up, full of lovely people and I always feel welcome there.”

Joe, who has two daughters Sarah and Susan, started playing golf at the age of 40 after leaving his job at Franklin’s dry cleaners in 1973, aged 40, to become a postman.

Joe, who lives in High Storrs, said: “When I changed jobs, it gave me more time for life outside work and that’s when I first developed my love of golf.

“But when Pauline became ill, I stopped playing to care for her.”

After taking a break from the game following the passing of his wife, and surgery for bladder cancer, Joe is now back on the course.

“Golf is keeping me mentally and physically healthy,” he said.

“I play twice a week with friends I’ve known for years. It is good exercise and a nice social activity.”

Since re-joining Beauchief, Joe has taken part in golf competitions such as the Seniors Cup - in which he competed in early March.

He also cycles from Endcliffe Park to Meadowhall almost every week with his friend, Mick.

“Mick used to be a milkman and the funny thing was he delivered my milk and I delivered his post!

“We got to know each other and joined the cycling club together,” said Joe.

“It’s a fair distance from Endcliffe Park to Meadowhall but we try to avoid the bigger hills as we don’t want to overdo it.

“Due to the cycling and the golf I feel very fit now, particularly for someone my age!”

Beauchief Golf Course is part of the charity Sheffield City Trust’s (SCT) which exists to improve the health and wellbeing of Sheffield people by providing facilities for sport and leisure activities.

Andy Carnall, SCT’s golf manager, said: “People like Joe put the rest of us to shame.

“It’s truly remarkable the way that he’s managed to re-energise himself and I’m glad that he’s done that through golf.

“We’re proud to have played a part in helping him back on track.”