Jamie’s Blog

It’s been a few months or since our last Newsletter in August, halfway through our golfing season.  At the time, I said we were looking to present a minimum of 31 Coaches this year.  Well, I’m pleased to say we’ve done better than that and, by the end of 2023, we will have raised more than last year in money terms, in fact, enough to have purchased 37 Coaches!

We knew it was going to prove another difficult year with the cost of Sunshine Coaches increasing by the best part of 30%.  But, hey, the last four years have all been difficult for one reason or another whether due to Covid, the economy and, currently, a shortage of parts in the motor trade.  Still, to quote the old saying, ‘when the going gets tough, the tough get going’ and thanks to the extraordinary support and generosity of our members, Variety Golf has forged ahead through all these difficult times.

All of you deserve thanks.  As our immediate past Captain, Steve, said wisely at Walton Heath “You all have money, there are lots of things you could do with it, but you choose to give it to us”

That says it all, really.  Yes, I know we all love playing golf and relish the unique camaraderie we enjoy, but, beyond all that, is what we do for the children.  We’ve had some lovely speeches lately from the schools who have received a Sunshine Coach, not least from the young man at the New Zealand Club who – lest we should be in any doubt – reminded us just how important our Coaches are to the schools we support.  This really matters.  And there are fewer charities doing it.

On the golfing front, we have had some fun playing on great courses, mainly in excellent weather.  From Captain’s Day at Sandy Lodge, the Sunshine Classic at Woburn, the Bruce Forsyth Trophy at Wentworth, a fantastic two days on the Kent coast, the famous Rugby Legends at Loch Lomond (another big record raising a huge £500,000 on it own), Steve’s memorable Footballers Classic at Walton Heath, and many others in between, it’s been a fabulous year with record attendances – who else regularly turns out 88 players for a society day?  Oh, and the forthcoming Christmas Lunch for which we have already sold more tickets than last year but can still sell a few more!

I would particularly like to thank our Captain, John Conteh, who has excelled in the role for a second time (the last being twenty years ago)!  John, you are a real ‘gent’ – it’s been a real pleasure working with you and we have all enjoyed your excellent company.

I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible at the Hilton and, in the meantime, do enjoy Christmas and the New Year.

Jamie’s Blog2023-11-15T20:26:11+00:00

Outstanding Contribution Award

Aside only from our President, Jimmy Tarbuck and ‘Father of the House’ Bernie Flockhart, the longest serving playing member of our society is Alan Robinson who, over the years, has presented an astonishing 32 Sunshine Coaches.

In recognition of this achievement and in appreciation of his commitment and generosity, Alan has been presented with Variety Golf’s Outstanding Achievement Award, signed by our President, Jimmy, and current Captain, John Conteh.  Well done, Alan, and please accept our truly heartfelt thanks for all you have done and still do.

Outstanding Contribution Award2023-11-15T20:24:14+00:00

Away Day at Ashridge

On Wednesday, October 11th we were at Ashridge Golf Club near Berkhamsted.  This was a new venue for us and we were delighted that everybody really enjoyed this real hidden gem!  In fact, it has already been booked in June for our 2024 schedule!

The scoring was very close with Joe Sydee winning the best gross score and Tom Webb taking the best nett.  The winning team was Paul Boyle, Dan Sims, Jonathan Hill & Bill Hill with 89 points.

Away Day at Ashridge2023-11-15T20:22:04+00:00

10th Variety Rugby Legends at Loch Lomond

In early September we held our 10th Variety Rugby Legends at one of the world’s finest courses, Loch Lomond.

The event was the brainchild of Bill Sangster back in 2013.  Each team of four is hosted by a Rugby Legend, including the likes of Jason Leonard, Phil Vickery, Austin Healey, Kiwi Zinzan Brooke and many more.  This year it was sponsored by one of our consistently generous members, Joe Hemani of Westcoast. Happily, we were treated to a Scottish summer heatwave with temperatures of 25 degrees!

We celebrated our tenth anniversary by raising over £500,000, almost double last year – truly staggering!  In fact, over the last ten years Rugby Legends has raised in total over £2m!

After golf we presented Sunshine Coaches to three Special Needs Schools based in Scotland and Northumberland.

Huge thanks go to everyone who supported the event.

10th Variety Rugby Legends at Loch Lomond2023-11-15T20:20:29+00:00

Variety Golf Guests Day at West Hill

On September 12th we were at the magnificent West Hill for our Annual Guests Day, kindly sponsored by Ian Watson & Anthony Trafford. Thank you so much, gentlemen!

The scoring was good all round but, with an emphatic score of 97 points, Bernie Flockhart, David Redfearn, Steve Cross and Fred Ennis were triumphant winning by 6 points!

Before we teed off we presented another Sunshine Coach to the Manor Green College based in Crawley, Sussex, sponsored by all our members through our general fundraising over the months.

In the evening Adger Brown did a superb job with the Auction, as did our ‘The Magic Man’, David Redfearn, who was completely mind boggling as always.

 

Variety Golf Guests Day at West Hill2023-11-15T20:18:51+00:00

Variety Golf Links Trophy

On 16th and 17th of August we held our Variety Golf Links Trophy at Princes at Sandwich, Kent which has Royal St Georges and Royal Cinque Ports as next-door neighbours. We were absolutely blessed with amazing weather for both rounds. With an enjoyable overnight stay at The Lodge Hotel at Princes, and a Dinner hosted by comedian Mike Osman {who also raised some money for us in the Auction) a thoroughly good time was had by all.

The event was played in team format over the two rounds combined.  The winning team was: Paul Walsh, Tony Negal, Dickon Bowden and Andy Wilding with 164 points over the two rounds.

Variety Golf Links Trophy2023-11-15T20:17:19+00:00

Christmas Lunch at The Hilton is Only Three Weeks Away!

Last year we raised a staggering £457k at this highly popular event – and this year we aim to do even better.  There is some fabulous entertainment booked, headed by the wonderful Nina Conti and our very own Bobby Davro.

It’s a perfect opportunity to treat wives and partners, entertain friends and family or even host a staff party.  So, if you haven’t already booked, call Jamie on 07801 098101 ASAP.

Christmas Lunch at The Hilton is Only Three Weeks Away!2023-11-15T20:15:58+00:00

Sir Bobby Charlton – Captain, Variety Golf, 1990

Sir Bobby pictured with fellow member Bernie Newmarch at his Captain’s Drive-In at Walton Heath in 1990

You will have all seen the very sad news that one the country’s greatest footballing legends, Sir Bobby Charlton passed away on October 21st.  He was 86.

Variety Golf was honoured to have Sir Bobby as Captain in 1990.  His brilliance on the football field has been well documented elsewhere, but Sir Bobby was also a keen and competitive golfer playing off a handicap of nine. In fact, in bizarre circumstances, he had to surrender his amateur status in 2004 after hitting a hole-in-one in a charity match at Formby Hall Golf Club in Merseyside. His prize was a Mercedes A-class car, valued at over £13,000.

According to the rules of golf, Sir Bobby had to lose his amateur status for accepting a prize valued at over £500 and would not be able to compete in competitions at the clubs near his Cheshire home. He could have also been banned from playing social golf and would have had to serve a probationary period playing off scratch before becoming a professional.

Sir Bobby, who holed his tee-shot at the 147-yard 16th, said he was happy to win the car and added: “The hole-in-one was a complete fluke but I was delighted when it went in. I’m well aware of the rules, so I knew when I won the car I would have to give up my amateur status”.

Bobby’s solution was to donate the car to Manchester’s Christie Hospital. He said: “I thought about it for about a week. It sounded very attractive but eventually I realised that I loved my golf and I could do without the car. I’m a bit too old to become a professional from scratch. The Christie is a wonderful and important hospital.”

Sir Bobby was the only English player to win all of football’s major honours – the FA Cup, Football League and European Cup with Manchester United, and the World Cup with England, accumulating a record number of international caps and goals. For England, he scored 49 in 106 appearances, and he was United’s highest all-time scorer, with 249 in 758 games, until 2017, when his record was beaten by Wayne Rooney.

Sir Bobby was a true gentleman and much loved by his fellow members in Variety. He will be missed. Rest In Peace – Sir Bobby Charlton 1937 -2023.

Sir Bobby Charlton – Captain, Variety Golf, 19902023-11-01T12:07:18+00:00

The Steve Coppell Footballers Trophy

On Thursday, October 26th, we were at Walton Heath for our Inaugural Steve Coppell Trophy and what an amazing day we had.

The forecast wasn’t looking great but the rain stopped and the sun came out just in time for us to tee off and we had a glorious day at one of the finest courses in the country and Walton Heath really hosted us so well, the course was in superb condition and the lunch was even better!

After golf, we had an emotional double coach presentation. The first coach was the 26th Variety Sunshine Coach that David Welsh from JOIE Baby has now presented and alongside Lady Forsyth (pic below), David presented his coach in his JOIE colours to the ‘Taylor Made Dreams Charity who enable children with life limiting illnesses to achieve their dreams and this Sunshine Coach will I’m sure be a huge part of that.

The second coach was presented by one of our longest standing members Alan Robinson who amazingly presented his 32nd Variety Sunshine Coach to a Special Needs School located close to Alan in nearby Sidcup to The Marlborough School. Both Alan & Steve Coppell went to visit the school the week before and it really made a huge impact on both of them emotionally and I have attached Steve Coppell’s speech, please do listen, amazing words by Steve as always.

We then went in for lunch, which was incredible as it always is at Walton Heath, and Ian Irving did a great job raising funds in the Live Auction and then was then followed by a superb 1,2,3 game by our host Steve Coppell, with some very interesting Q&A’s about Steve Coppell’s career and also with Alan Robinson about our 1990 Variety Golf Captain Sir Bobby Charlton. Just over £21,000 was raised on the day alongside 2 more Sunshine Coaches on the road!

Huge thanks to of course our host Steve Coppell, event sponsor Nick Edwards, Sunshine Coach Sponsors David Welsh & Alan Robinson.

The team scores were very close for the top 4-5 places but the winners raced ahead and were the perfect winners to a perfect day with our host and sponsor taking the trophy. Well done Steve Coppell and Nick Edwards our event sponsor, please see the leaderboard below:

1st – 93 Points = Steve Coppell, Nick Edwards, Paul Eagle, Callum Donaghy

2nd – 88 Points = Steve Sidwell, Mark Coppell, Patrick Bjorklund, Jim Roland

3rd – 88 Points = Steve Sedgley, Ian Watson, Peter Weston, Robin Stock

4th – 87 Points = Paul Jones, David Harris, Michael Dick, Martin Archer

5th – 87 Points = Gareth Barry, Dan Cook, Steve Macrossen, Russell Jacob

6th – 87 Points = Kipp Popert, Neil Bookatz, Laurence Saffer, Andy Wilding

The Steve Coppell Footballers Trophy2023-11-01T16:53:24+00:00

Autumn Meeting at Worplesdon

On Wednesday, October 4th, we were at the superb Worplesdon Golf Club for our Variety Autumn Meeting.

The course was in immaculate condition as was the weather and the scoring was very competitive as always. After golf we presented our 25th Sunshine Coach of 2023, sponsored by all our wonderful Variety Golf members from last year’s fundraising!

Big thanks to Bob the Cat Bevan for hosting the auction and for our ‘Magic Man’, David Redfearn, for again amazing as with some incredible illusions which left us dumb-founded!

Winners Robin Stock, Peter Weston Ian Watson & David Redfearn with Captain John Conteh

 

The leaderboard was as follows:

Individual Scores

1st – Ian Watson = 43 points

Tied 2nd – Tommy White & Martin Rose

 

Team Scores

1st – David Redfearn, Peter Weston, Robin Stock, Ian Watson with 92 points

2nd – Anthony Trafford, Tommy White, Tony Negal, Richard Keel with 90 points

3rd – Bill Macklin, Jim Fox, Tony Rance, Neil Gritton with 89 points

Autumn Meeting at Worplesdon2023-11-02T09:33:45+00:00
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