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Europe’s disabled golfers given a proper send-off as fundraisers chip in with £15,000

Posted onPosted on 17th Jun

A  golf day held to raise money to fund Europe’s challenge in this summer’s Cairns Cup competition has helped send the team off in style – after generous players chipped in with £15,000.

The corporate event, which took place at Morley Hayes this week, was organised to help with the travel and accommodation costs to ensure 16 players from across the continent can line up against a USA team when the Cup tees off next month.

The Cairns Cup disability golf’s premier matchplay event and resembles the Ryder Cup, with a three day with a four-ball, foursomes and singles rounds, contested by golfers with a range of disabilities, including paralysis, cerebral palsy and Parkinson’s.

Among those who will line up in the Cup is vice-captain Kris Aves, who lost the use of his legs when he was struck by a van driven by a terrorist in London in 2017, and James Gallagher, who has cerebral palsy.

Both Kris and James were also present and playing alongside the golfers at this week’s event, which was organised and sponsored by Derbyshire firms Purpose Media, of South Normanton, and S O’Brien Heating Solutions.

They invited firms across the East Midlands to take part in a day’s worth of golf, ending with a charity auction which added a few more 0’s to the final total.

Matt Wheatcroft, managing director of Purpose Media, said: “Our target for the event was £10,000 so everyone delighted that we smashed that and raised such an incredible amount of money.

“Kris gave a very compelling speech during the prize-giving and was out and about on the course, while James was running a putting competition, so everyone got to see what they could do and learn more about disabled golf and the Cairns Cup.

“I’ve been involved with the Cairns Cup for nearly 10 years now and I want to help them. I’ve had two horrendous injuries in the past and so I understand where these guys are and how important being able to play sport is.”

Stephen O’Brien, managing director of S O’Brien Heating Solutions, added: “We had a cracking day, we got a lot of positive feedback and £15,000 raised for the Cairns Cup is not to be sniffed at.

“Kris was fantastic, he knows that his story helps to promote disabled golf and raise awareness of the Cairns Cup. He was a big golfer before his accident and it’s helped him to get back to where he needs to be mentally.

“I think we all understand how sport and getting out into the fresh air helps us with our mental health and he was a great example of that.”

The Cairns Cup takes place Cherry Creek Golf Club in Detroit at the end of July, where the European team will be looking to avenge their defeat from when the Cup was last contested at the Shire Golf Club two years ago.

Pictured, from left, are Stephen O’Brien, managing director of S O’Brien Heating Solutions, Kevin Booth, vice-president of the Cairns Cup matchplay event European team, Cairns Cup vice-captain Kris Aves, golfer James Gallagher and Matt Wheatcroft, managing director of marketing agency Purpose Media.