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Tuesday, 11 December, 2018

Sunderlands founder Pat Densham dies aged 95

Pat Densham (left): the Sunderlands founder has died at the age of 95
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Pat Densham, who founded leading rails and credit bookmaker Sunderlands, has died aged 95.

Born in Purley, Surrey in 1922 Densham was christened Charles Kenneth Patrick, but was always known as Pat.

His bookmaking career began after he served in the RAF in West Africa as a rear gunner on Sunderland Flying Boats during the Second World War.

His chartered surveyor father Jack, an Olympic hurdler who loved racing, was cautious about seeing the family name used for the bookmaking business his son was planning.

Densham, a keen punter and previously a poker player, saw an edge in switching sides and so in 1946 Sunderlands bookmakers was founded, establishing themselves as one of the leading independent bookmakers on the racing circuit.

Densham found it helpful to be a member of many London clubs, such as the Clermont, Aspinalls, the RAC and the Eccentric, and became a life member of the Guild of Nineteen Lubricators, a charitable organisation.

He was involved with many other charities, raising thousands of pounds for good causes, including benevolent work for racecourse bookmaking staff who had fallen on hard times.

He became well acquainted with several others from the world of sport and gaming and was captain of the Addington Golf Club. He counted cricketers Denis Compton, Godfrey Evans, Colin Ingleby-MacKenzie and Australian Keith Miller among his closest friends.

He was later joined in the business by his son Martin when the Sunderlands name became synonymous with the £50,000 bonus for the Imperial Cup, the Sandown race which the firm sponsored for 15 years.

Martin Densham died earlier last month by which time the business was focused on-course as White Sunderland, one of the largest operations of its kind in the country, with Fitzdares having taken over Sunderlands off-course arm in 2016.

Simon Wallis, partner in White Sunderland, said: "Pat was highly respected within the bookmaking industry and will be sadly missed by all his friends and loving family."

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The Sunderlands name became synonymous with the £50,000 bonus for the Imperial Cup, the Sandown race which the firm sponsored for 15 years
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