A GROUP of golfers are getting in the swing of things after raising £45,000 for an armed forces charity.
Members of Whitburn Golf Club set themselves a £50,000 fundraising target for Help For Heroes when they formed the Gary Thompson Memorial Golf Society 10 years ago in memory of a pal who died in 2003.
It began as a tournament organised by golfers Steve Mackings and Rod Jackson in memory of Mr Thompson, and snowballed into an annual Help the Heroes fundraising event with the backing of Barclays Bank, North East businesses and club golfers from across the region.
This year’s golf day raised £9,000, and with a Christmas Disco still to come in December, organisers believe they’ll hit their £50,000 target before the end of the year.
Mr Mackings, whose son Tom is in the Royal Engineers Bomb Disposal Unit, said: “Help For Heroes is something close to my heart, as it to a lot of people.
“After Gary passed away, we wanted to do something is his memory and there are about 10 of us who get together every year to organise the golf day.
“We get a lot of support from local companies and we’re grateful to them and also Barclays Bank worker Rachel Ord, of the Washington branch, for the backing they have given over the last three years.”
The society has around 25 members and fundraising continues through the year, with members being fined for swearing, taking a huff, throwing clubs and not wearing their Help For Heroes pin badges.
Mr Jackson added: “I would especially like to thank Tony Burridge, Paul Mackings, Neil Whinham of Aslan Golf, Warren Marshall of Marshall’s Golf, Whitburn Golf Club, Eddy Cuthbert, Karen James and all players involved for their continued support and donations, we could not do it without them. They make the day what it is and their generosity and willingness to dig deep never ceases to amaze us.”
As a reward for their continued efforts, the organisers and main contributors have been invited to visit the new Help For Heroes Phoenix House Recovery Centre in Catterick, North Yorkshire, to see how their money is being spent and witness the rehabilitation of those wounded in service.
This year’s tournament was won by Billy Youern, Richy Barrow, John Stoddard, and Ian Richardson of the Fulwell Four team.