17 July 2013


Keepers presented powered wheelchairs to 6 deserving residents from Fife, Edinburgh and the Lothians on Wednesday 17th July 2013 within The R&A Club Marquee at the Open Championship at Muirfield.

Pictured above are the recipients, their carers, families and friends together with sponsors and a large number of Keepers Members and Friends.

The Presentation Party included Keepers Patron, David Joy, assisted by R&A Captain, Pierre Bechmann.

This event follows a tradition of Keepers raising funds and securing sponsorship to improve the quality of life and mobility of selected individuals in the local area of Scotland where the Open is held. The majority of recipients were nominated by the Disabled Living Centre at the Astley Ainslie Hospital in Edinburgh

Sponsors who donated powered wheelchairs for this year's Open include The R&A, the Club Managers Association of America, Portland Hotels, Penwortham Golf Club, David Mann of St Andrews and Meetings Industry Meeting Needs.  Click on the following link to see related article which appeared in Meetings and Incentive Travel Magazine.

Keepers Patron and golf historian, David Joy, said "Once again we are delighted to have secured such high levels of funding and sponsorship to enable us to provide 6 powered wheelchairs at this year's Open. This will deliver so many benefits to those with severe mobility restrictions and help combat disability barriers.
We are also indebted to The R&A for their continued support in facilitating wheelchair presentations at Open Championships which are held in Scotland."

Chris McCoy, Equality and Diversity Manager at VisitScotland, said: “Scotland is preparing to welcome the world in 2014, when the country hosts Homecoming, the Commonwealth Games and the Ryder Cup. It is important that we provide the warmest of welcomes to everyone, no matter what their needs are. With this in mind, we hope this generous donation from Keepers of the Green will help to inspire businesses to think about those with access needs.”


Wheelchair recipients with their sponsors pictured from left to right: Anne Lawson, Bonnyrigg with Sir Michael Bonallack, the R&A; Keepers Patron, David Joy with chair provided by Club Managers Association of America; Shirley Todd, Edinburgh with Hugh Paterson, Past Captain of Penwortham GC, Lancs; Christine Watson, Wallyford with Susan Valentine, Portland Hotels; Margaret Allan, Dunfermline, with Peter Rand MBE, Meetings Industry Meetings Needs; and Stuart Campbell, Edinburgh with David Mann, St Andrews and Alex Mann from Toronto


So we come to the wheelchchairs and the first to be presented is on behalf of The Royal & Ancient Golf Club:
The R&A has been supportive of Keepers activities over the last eighteen years, not only in providing wheelchairs on a regular basis but in facilitating our main wheelchair presentations at Open Championships.

We are honoured to have The R&A Captain, Pierre Bechmann, here today to help with the presentation. We acknowledge the great support we have received in planning this event from the Director of Championship Operations, Rhodri Price.

May I ask the Captain to present the official caps of this year’s Muirfield Open to our worthy recipients as they are announced.

Standing behind the first chair is our first honorary member of Keepers, who in fact presented the first chair on our behalf in 1995. It is, of course, Sir Michael Bonallack, past secretary of The R&A and a six-times winner of The British Amateur Championship. The recipient is Anne Lawson from Bonnyrigg in Midlothian.

Unfortunately, our recipient of the next chair can’t be with us this morning but we hope he will benefit from a new found independence this chair will give him around his home town – the capital city of Edinburgh.

The background to our most generous sponsor, The Club Managers Association of America, who provided the funds for this chair, is that in 2005, they held their annual educational conference in St Andrews with over 100 club managers from around the world attending. In line with their remit to assist those less fortunate – and, prompted by our Hon Secretary Janet, they selected Keepers as their chosen charity. £43,000 was raised by this group of individuals and clubs. Their association with Keepers has remained strong with a further £15,000 raised, enabling us to provide a solid platform for subsequent growth as a proactive and responsive organisation.

The third chair goes to an amazingly spirited lady – Shirley Todd, who is here with her family and fundraising friends. Part of the cost of this state-of-the-art chair has been made possible through a former St Andrean and good friend, Hugh Paterson. While Captain of Penwortham Golf Club in Lancashire in 2011, he nominated Keepers as his preferred charity. He raised over £6,000 in a wide range of sponsored golf events and activities, which included jumping out of an aircraft at 14,000 feet to make his parachute debut at the age of 60 plus! This enabled the Club to contribute towards two chairs.

The recipient of this chair is also an exceptional fund-raiser. Shirley Todd from Drumbrae in Edinburgh, a former London Marathon runner, is quite unique in having raised £4,700 towards the cost and upkeep of her own chair.

Portland Hotels – a privately owned company, based in Edinburgh with hotels in Glasgow, Aberdeen and Perth - has been a committed supporter of Keepers through its chairman Colin Paton, providing powered wheelchairs over the last three years.
Portland Hotel’s Sales and Marketing Director, Susan Valentine, is here today to present the fourth chair to Christine Watson, who is living in the Drummohr Nursing Home in Wallyford, East Lothian.

The next chair is funded by Meetings Industry Meeting Needs a registered charity, founded in 2005, by leading figures in the UK Conference and Events Industry. Support has been provided to a wide range of beneficiaries, both in the UK and overseas, ranging from supplying clean water in Africa and India to days out in the UK for children with special needs. Over 40 organisations have benefitted from MIMN grants in the last twelve months. They have a close affiliation with the MS society. We are pleased that Peter Rand MBE, Executive Committee Member of MIMN, has travelled up from Warwickshire today to present a chair to Margaret Allan from Dunfermline.

The final chair presented today is in memory of a grandfather! David Jack lived in Dundee and had a great influence on David Mann, his grandson, in his formative years. David is one of our founder members of Keepers of the Green and still an active member for which we are grateful. He is the owner of The Scores Hotel in St Andrews – a lob wedge from the 18th green of the Old Course – or a shank to The R&A Clubhouse from his front entrance! Stuart Campbell from Edinburgh is here today with his family to receive his chair.

Before completing today’s presentation, I would like to acknowledge the great support we have received from two further partners:

The Disabled Living Centre – based at the Astley Ainslie Hospital in Edinburgh and only one of two such centres based in Scotland - was responsible for nominating each of today’s recipients to us for assessment. Tirion Dickson, Specialist Occupational Therapist and Pat Tannahill, Administrator, are with us and I would like to pay tribute to the work they do in assessing and providing advice on equipment to a wide range of patients in the local area. We hope to supply another two chairs in the near future.

Med-Ecosse, our preferred wheelchair supplier, is a family-based company located in Pathhead near Edinburgh and managed by Colin Struthers. He has been responsible for assessing and supplying chairs for all our recipients. Med-Ecosse also ensures that Keepers is able to provide a unique level of support by offering a full maintenance service for all chairs presented by us. Colin stands by a demonstration chair brought along for all to see.

Final words are to thank you all for attending and in particular our recipients, their friends, families and carers.

Thanks also to our Hon Secretary, Janet Finlay, and our Communications Manager, Jack Munro, for making today possible.

To our new powered chair users ………. The R&A has set up a prime spot to view – beside the 18th green if you wish ……. on the condition that you don’t shout out in the middle of any player’s backswing ”you’re the man” or “get in the hole” !

Alternatively, you are all now free to roam - so enjoy the rest of your day.