Last night the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Golf held its inaugural annual dinner in the Palace of Westminster.
The dinner was hosted by Group Vice-Chairman, Baroness Nye of Lambeth, on the House of Lords terrace, and brought together Members of both Houses of Parliament, Associate Members, Group supporters and dinner sponsors, Covéa Insurance. The Group was established in 2015, and has since grown to over 60 Members from both Houses and across all major parties.
Group Co-Chairman, Karl McCartney MP, reflected on the Group’s first year of activity. “The Group was established just over a year ago, with the singular, and deliberately broad remit, to support the sport of golf. We have been very active over the past year, and tonight’s inaugural annual dinner is a fitting celebration of that work, and of an exciting year for the sport.”
“One thing that has become clear since we formed the Group is the huge support for the sport across the UK, and we are delighted to have the support of so many of the various bodies that represent different elements of the sport. The Group’s initial focus has been on increasing participation, particularly amongst women and BME groups, and also on improving perceptions of the sport, and I hope that we can continue to be an active voice for the sport in Westminster, Whitehall and beyond.”
Throughout the course of the evening, attendees were encouraged to take part in a silent auction and raffle. By the end of the evening, Vice-Chairman Corri Wilson MP was able to announce a donation for charity partner, the Golf Foundation, of over £4500.
The evening’s guest speaker was Ken Schofield CBE, former European Tour Executive Director. He gave his thoughts on the state of the game, and also discussed the work of the Golf Foundation, and their attempts to help more young people enjoy golf and the many benefits it brings.
Co-Chairman, Stephen Gethins MP, presented the Group’s Longstanding Service Award to his constituent, Helen Melville, a longstanding member of Lundin Ladies Golf Club. Speaking at the dinner, he said “When we established the Group we wanted to recognise the impact that the sport has at the community level, and the vital work that volunteers do. Helen is approaching her 60th year of membership at Lundin Ladies, over which time she has served over 40 years in office-bearer roles in a voluntary capacity. During her time as club captain Helen took responsibility for managing an ambitious project to extend the historic 1897 clubhouse, which provided some very essential changing and locker facilities. She is exactly the kind of person who ensures the community reach of golf and a very worthy winner of this award.”
The Group’s inaugural Parliamentary Golfer of the year award was announced by Vice-Chairman Jason McCartney MP as Andrew Bingham MP. Andrew organised his own golf challenge in July this year, in which he played nine holes of golf on each of the seven courses in his High Peak constituency, raising over £6500 for four Mountain Rescue teams in the process. He has also been a vocal advocate of the 9-hole version of the game, and particularly England Golf’s Golf Express initiative, which promotes 9-hole golf to inspire busy people to play more often.