The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Golf last night (4 December) held its annual charity dinner in the House of Lords.
The dinner, hosted by the Rt Hon. Lord Wallace of Tankerness QC, brought together Members of both Houses of Parliament, Honorary and Associate Members, Group supporters and sponsors The R&A and The PGA.
Throughout the evening, attendees were encouraged to take part in a silent auction and raffle, and by the end of the evening the Group was able to announce a donation for charity partner, The Golf Foundation, of £5480.
Speaking at the dinner, Group Co-Chair and Member of Parliament for North Warwickshire, Craig Tracey MP, said “despite the general election, the Group has once again had an active year standing up for golf in Parliament. There is much in the sport to be proud of, and the Group will continue to do all it can to ensure a message of positivity, as well as continuing to raise and challenge issues to support golf all levels.”
Co-Chair and Member of Parliament for North East Fife, Stephen Gethins MP, added “the Group’s annual dinner is a fitting celebration of the work that the Group has done and of an exciting year for golf. It is also a good opportunity to recognise the contribution of those who do so much for golf, and it was a pleasure to announce our 2017 award winners. Looking forward to 2018, the Group will continue to be a strong voice for golf in Westminster, Whitehall and across the UK.”
Those in attendance also heard from guest speaker, Sandy Jones, former Chief Executive and now Executive President of The PGA. Jones gave his thoughts on the current state of the game, and gave attendees an insight to his involvement in the game over the course of a long career.
The highlight of the evening was the Group’s awards. The winner of the Group’s 2017 Longstanding Service Award was Jim Gales MBE, in recognition of his work as founder and Chair of the Scottish Disability Golf Partnership. The charity provides opportunities for individuals across Scotland to take part in golf training and golf competitions, and has made a significant contribution to the sport since it was established in 2004. Gales was also made an Honorary Life Member in recognition of his services the sport.
The Group’s Parliamentary Golfer of the Year Award was won by former Group Co-Chair and Member of Parliament for Lincoln, Karl McCartney. McCartney was one of the founders of the Group in 2015 and led much of the Group’s activity in the 2015 Parliament, but was not returned at the 2017 general election. The award was made in recognition of his efforts to support the sport whilst a Member of Parliament, working across a range of issues as a strong voice for the positive impact that golf can have at all levels.
The Group also announced three further new Honorary Life Members: Sandy Jones, former Chief Executive of The PGA who has been retained as Executive President, and remains President of the Golf Foundation and Chair of the PGAs of Europe and The Ryder Cup Trust; Bruce Wilson, a longstanding Member and volunteer at Olton Golf Club; and John Simpson, former manager of Nick Faldo and founder of the On Course Foundation.