Saturday, September the 13th saw Autism Support Crawley host their third annual golf day fundraiser. 39 golfers of various handicaps, made up of familiar faces from the previous two years and also some new guys who had heard how good it was!! Some had a personal interest in Autism, whilst others wanted to support the cause again, having helped in the past.
Golfers were greeted by tea, coffee and a bacon roll upon arrival at Tilgate Forest Golf Centre, followed by a briefing by organiser, Lee Cook and the four ball announcements. Neill Jonas explained the Stableford scoring methods and the Longest Drive and Nearest the Pin competitions. Maria Box, the Chairperson of Autism Support Crawley also welcomed everybody and thanked them in advance for giving up their free time to help raise money for a great cause, which voluntarily now supports nearly 400 families locally.
The first 4 ball tee’d off at 11.04 am and this year they had a guest announcer, a marvellous man by the name of Austin Hughes, who works tirelessly to advocate for families who care for someone with Autism. In typical professional PGA style, Austin announced the golfers by name and handicap, one by one, as they prepared to tee off.
Some wonderful members of Autism Support Crawley volunteered on the day to help sell cakes, snacks, refreshments, raffle tickets, pens and wristbands at holes 1, 6, 12 and 18 and boy did they do a great job. The guys were not allowed to tee off unless they bought a wristband and they all graciously parted with another £1 Austin then perched himself at hole 6 once everyone had tee’d off to remind the golfers that they might get very hungry and thirsty by hole 12 so they had better stock up on supplies. He then repeated this at hole 12 ahead of the golfers heading to the clubhouse. Ingenious.
The weather was perfect and the sun shone all day long. Great fun was had by all, the golfers dug deep and thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Even members of the public passing by donated and also other golfers not part of the fundraising group chipped in.
The last golfers rolled in just after 5pm and everyone enjoyed the 19th hole.
Everyone then congregated back at The White Knight at 7pm and many of the support group’s wonderful members came along too with their Autistic children. Austin continued as MC for the evening and had us all in fits of laughter. Rob Sharp, an amazing close up magician, stunned everyone with his sleight of hand. A couple of VIPs also made an appearance too. Henry Smith MP came along and certainly soaked up the great atmosphere and kindly donated a bottle of Parliament whiskey as a raffle prize. It was also an honour to have Autism Support Crawley’s Patron present, Anna Kennedy OBE, who had travelled all the way from Hillingdon to be there on the night.
The volunteers continued to sell raffle tickets, wristbands and pens and it was a tough job trying to keep up with the demand.
The band “Louder than 10,” took to the stage at 8.00pm, playing rock tunes across the ages.
Trophy presentations for 3 nearest the pins, 2 longest drives, 1st place, 2nd place and Wooden Spoon, the raffle draw and golf auction took place from 9.00pm.
Nearest the pin winners: Colin Gidman, Jon Rosendale, Simon Rosendale.
Longest drive winners: Nick Harris won both!!
Wooden Spoon – Andrew Demetriou.
2nd place – Duncan Hawkins.
1st place – Paddy Coone
Speeches then followed from Anna Kennedy OBE, Maria Box and Lee Cook. Lee then surprised the entire packed White Knight by proposing on one knee, with a ring, to Maria. Luckily, she said Yes!!
The band then played the rest of the night out until close.
After a massive count up it was announced that the whole day raised a whopping £1961.51!! This was more than double last year’s total. The funds will allow Autism Support Crawley to continue for another year, keep supporting their members, host professional speakers pertinent to the needs of their families, host social events for respite for the parent/carers and also help reduce social isolation and discrimination.
Autism Support Crawley would like to thank A Zone Windscreen Repairs – their main sponsor, Document Workflow Solutions for donating the top raffle prize of an iPad Mini, The White Knight – for giving them the venue and laying on a wonderful buffet, Tilgate Forrest Golf Centre – for letting them totally take over for the day, Anna Kennedy OBE and Austin Hughes for just being there and doing what they do best and also everyone who donated prizes, baked cakes, helped out behind the scenes and on the day.