Charity - Not for the Faint of Heart


The 27th July 2011 is going to have the worst weather the British Isles has ever seen, or at least the Guildford area will.  Why I hear you ask, well I shall tell you.  It, like most things these days, started with an email.  "You up for this?" is all the subject said and contained this link:

Macmillan is a Cancer charity that does amazing work supporting those living with and fighting cancer and their families.  Its an impressive charity, and their mission statement is equally impressive and worth a read:

"Macmillan Cancer Support improves the lives of people affected by cancer. One in three of us will get cancer. We are all affected by cancer. We can all help. We are Macmillan.  As treatments improve, more and more people are living with cancer in their daily lives. This means they need more than medical help, they also need practical, emotional and financial support.  We are a source of support, helping with all the things that people affected by cancer want and need. It's not only patients who live with cancer, so we also help carers, families and communities . We guide people through the system, supporting them every step of the way. We fund nurses and other specialist health care professionals and build cancer care centres . But we give so much more than medical help.

People need practical support at home, so we provide anything from some precious time off for a carer, to a lift to hospital. People need emotional support, so we listen, advise and share information though our cancer support specialists , website and trained professionals . People need financial help to cope with the extra costs cancer can bring, so we give benefits advice, and grants for anything from heating bills to travel costs. Together we listen, we learn, we act to help people live with cancer."

An impressive charity throws down impressive challenges.  If you've clicked the link above, you know the score.  72 holes of golf, around 20 miles of walking, in one day.  If your going to set the bar, set it high!  72 holes is an entire four day pro golf tournament.  But why do it?  For me, like most things in my life, its family.  My Uncle David was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma nearly ten years ago and that terrible form of cancer eventually took his life.  David is the man who took me up in his airplane when I was a mere toddler and sparked a life long love of aviation that has lead to and shaped every day of my working life in the industry and to me constantly bumping into things from all the looking up to see what's flying over.  Another dear Uncle of mine, John, was also diagnosed with cancer and he has battled his way through it.  Seeing how this disease hit my family hard, helping a charity that helps people with the day to day battle, works for me.  Now, you may have gathered, I'm not the most energetic of chaps.  The thought of running a marathon is up there with eating Marmite with a spoon, plus have you seen the shorts those muppets wear?  I play golf, a sport not known for its fashion sense, and I would have to, in the immortal words of that great golfer Happy Gilmore, kick my own ass if I was to run one of those silly things.  Charity fund-raising is a funny old business, but 72 holes in a day isn't funny, it is an epic challenge, one my compatriots and I intend to face down and beat with a seven iron and not like Pheidippides after running from Marathon to Athens, drop down dead at the end of it.  But there is an outside chance of that happening anyways!  Even though Macmillan have put up prize for the lowest stapleford scores, which is a tournament at the Boavista Golf Resort in Portugal, we are not in it for that.  The challenge will be enough.  That and loser in our three ball buys the beer!

The venue for this trial by golf is Hurtmore Golf Club, near Guildford, Surrey.  Hurtmore has very kindly provided us with the green fees for the four rounds for free.  Phil, Simon and I are each donating a £25 green fee to Macmillan on their behalf for use of the course.  Obviously being run by such lovely people, they have a lovely course to match.  Laid down by BBC Golf commentary legend Peter Alliss and Clive Clark, it runs to around 5,500 yards over Surrey parkland with seven lakes coming into play.  The important bit of that description is parkland, ie, flat.  Which for our cause is perfect.  The plan is as follows:

  • 05:30 - Tee Off Round One, planning to finish at 08:30am for bacon and coffee.
  • 08:45 - Tee Off Round Two with a finish around 12:15 for a quick lunch, shower and change before the back 36 holes.
  • 13:00 - Tee Off Round Three with a finish at 16:30.
  • 16:45 - Round Four, the final slog.  This is the tricky one with sunset at 20:57 on the 27th, we may need the assist of a buggy for the final 9, depending on how the day has gone.

Ambitious?  Very!  But that is what we are aiming for, along with a reasonable target goal of £1000 raised for Macmillan.  We are working to get our companies involved and have put feelers out to others for assistance, more on that one if it comes off!  But in the meantime, we are asking for your support so we can not only hit our fund raising target, but beat it happily.  If you are able to offer us some coppers, please head over to our JustGiving page to add to the pot.  At the time of writing this, we are up to £320!  We are a third of the way there in only a couple hours, thanks to everyone so far and for anything you can give.  Please spread the word and we can get a proper total for the cause.

We will be keeping everyone up to date with the planning, fund raising status etc on here and will do something on the day to keep all our followers up to date with the joy-pain-agony on the big day itself.  I'll follow it all up with a write and pictures once I get the feeling back into my body!

Thanks for your support.  Matt, Phil and Simon.