Golfers chip in an amazing £40,000 for charity

From left, Club Captain Matt Fleming, guest celebrity Ian Irving, Club Professional Scott Godfrey and Ladies Captain Linda Barton, with tournament secretary and club Assistant General Manager Sue Helliker, second left.
From left, Club Captain Matt Fleming, guest celebrity Ian Irving, Club Professional Scott Godfrey and Ladies Captain Linda Barton, with tournament secretary and club Assistant General Manager Sue Helliker, second left.

A long-established charity golf day named after the BBC’s ‘voice of golf’ has raised more than £40,000 for disabled youngsters.


The 33rd annual Peter Alliss Invitational Charity Golf Day – the longest-running golf charity event in the south – was held at Ferndown Golf Club.


Since its inception in 1987 the event has raised more than £1.25 million for the Peter Alliss Wheelchair Crusade – leading to the purchase of 300-plus wheelchairs and walking aids.


Money was also raised for the charities nominated by the club’s two captains – High Mead Farm, the Ferndown supported work environment for people with disabilities and mental health issues, and Macmillan Caring Locally.


Twenty-eight teams of four participated in the event on the club’s immaculate Championship Course with the Invatrust team, led by club member David Harris and featuring James Tarbuck, son of Jimmy, emerging as winners.


Veteran broadcaster Peter, whose family link with Ferndown stretches back to 1939, said: “I am astounded every year at the amount of money raised by this fine event – and 2019 proved no different.”


Peter, who attended the dinner with wife Jackie, added: “My grateful thanks to everyone who played the event and to tournament secretary Sue Helliker and the team who worked so hard behind the scenes to ensure everything runs so smoothly.”
Club Captain Matt Fleming added: “This is our most important charity day of the year – and because it supports the provision of earmarked purchases for specific disabled youngsters we can all see the results of our efforts.


“Next March’s lunchtime presentation will be a very special event and I doubt there’ll be a dry eye in the house when our nominated young recipients from local special schools come along to say hello and receive their much-needed walking aids.”


The day culminated with a champagne reception and dinner, including a charity auction hosted by comedian and after-dinner speaker Ian Irving, former captain of the Variety Club Golfing Society. The auction itself raised £30,000.


He said: “I was very fortunate to be invited to play this great course and was so glad to do my bit to help these worthy charities. It’s all about playing some golf, having fun and supporting people who are less fortunate than us. “


Among the players this year was Ferndown GC’s own Haley Davis, who last month won her first professional title, the Bossey Ladies Championship in France and also made her major debut at the US Ladies Open this summer.


Also in the field of 112 was Ferndown GC professional Scott Godfrey, the club’s Ladies Captain Linda Barton, entertainer Roger de Courcey and Flt Lt Jim Peterson, who the previous day had been delighting crowds at Bournemouth Air Festival at the controls of his RAF Typhoon fighter aircraft.


Ferndown GC General Manager Ian Walton said: “As ever, we are indebted to the generosity of club members and friends who participate in this tournament and unfailingly open their wallets to support our excellent charity auction.”


The Peter Alliss Invitational was instigated back in 1987 by Derek Silk, then manager of Ferndown’s Dormy Hotel, who linked with Peter to raise funds for charity. Derek is still a member at Ferndown and played the competition in a team including BBC Sports’ Tony Husband.


The charity day has seen a number of sponsors over its 33 years and is currently supported by Wimborne-based building services company JM Scully Ltd.


Founded in 1913, Ferndown Golf Club is a 27-hole heathland golf course, ranked in the top three per cent of the world’s courses by Rolex.


It is also placed at 88 in Golf Monthly’s UK and Ireland Top 100 courses for 2019/20 while Golf World ranks Ferndown as one of the top 36 courses in England.
Prestigious tournaments hosted at the club include the Hennessy Cognac Club, featuring leading players from the European Tour; the European Ladies’ Championship and the Women’s British Open.

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