Good Morning and welcome to this presentation by Keepers of the Green, an international golfing fellowship based here in St. Andrews and now in it’s twentieth year. Its mission statement is to promote the traditions of the game of golf and to improve lives through powered mobility.
My name is David Joy and I have the honour of being it’s patron. I suppose I am best known as “the man that plays Tom Morris” a thankless task – still a one and a half hour make-up job even after portraying him for twenty five years.
There are six recipients today although two can’t be with us - I shall explain as we go along. The R. & A. have been incredibly supportive, not only in generously donating chairs on a regular basis, but also in facilitating our main wheelchair presentations at Open Championships throughout the country.
We are honoured that the captain of the R. & A. George Macgregor OBE is here with us today to assist with our presentation
I invite the captain to meet and present an Open Championship cap to the recipients as a memento of today's presentation as they are introduced.
The first chair goes to William Wilson who lives in Edinburgh.
Currently he has to plan what distance he needs to self propel as he lives at the bottom of a steep hill. Access to and from the bus stop will now be easier. It will enable William to independently visit friends and family and go for trips both in and out of the city of Edinburgh.
William used to play golf and is a keen follower of the Open. We hope he enjoys the rest of his day here.
Standing behind the chair should have been Sir Michael Bonnallack presenting it on behalf of the R. & A. He was our first Hon. Member and presented our first chair in 1995. As many of you will remember he was secretary of the R. & A. for many years and a six times British Amateur Champion. He is at this very moment chairing a meeting of the International Rules Committee but has sent a message that he would rather be here!
The second wheelchair has been jointly funded by Keepers of the Green and the ATC Foundation and goes to James Graham from Polbeth in West Lothian.
The main benefit of this chair is to provide more comfort and independence. The seat is highly adjustable and can be adapted to the curvature of the spine and give him better lateral support. He will be able to access higher units and make his own snacks. His current chair is ten ytears old and reliability is an issue – so he is looking forward to being able to go out in confidence without the risk of being towed home by the AA
Standing behind this chair was supposed to be Peter Alliss another Hon Member of Keepers who needs no introduction. Unfortunately he has been held up in rehearsals with the BBC but sends his best wishes as a friend and Kindred Spirit.
The third chair does have a sponsor present but unfortunately no one in it!
The chair has already been presented to Caroline Chalmers and it has enabled her to enrol in Edinburgh University. She is sorry not to be here to say who much it has helped her in her academic persuit and given her such a new lease of lif
Caroline especially wanted to thank David Mann the sponsor for making this happen. David is a founder member of Keepers, and a prominent and much respected of our charity having presented chairs in the past. He is the owner of the Scores Hotel – just a wedge away from the 18th green or a shank to the back door of the R. & A.
The fourth presentation features a unique collaboration between three of Fife's most prominent charities – The East Neuk Wheelchair Appeal , The Mary Leishman Foundation and Keepers of the Green, who have joined forces to fund a highly specialised powered wheelchair for Ritchie Horrocks from Craigrothie near Cupar. Unfortunatley he can't be here either but the chair is occupied by Mrs Lee Richie his personal carer for the last three years.
Lee describes Rtichie as a bright funny and loveable seven year old . He was born with a very debilitating medical condition and the donation of this modified wheelchair will help Ritchie to become more independent , enhance his level of mobility and also reduce strain on his family and carers. Ritchie will also be able to interact more safely with his family and friends in the community improving his health and well being. Ritchie’s parents Moira and David have asked that we pass on their deep gratitude to those concerned with funding their son's new chair.
Those people are standing behind this chair. Eleanor Bowman MBE, Chair of the East Neuk Wheelchair Appeal based in Anstruther, Ele Segerius secretary of the Mary Leishman Foundation also based just down the road in Anstruther and supported by trustee Jim Leishman- another MBE and local hero - but here in his capacity as The Provost of Fife. He is not Mr. Medallion man - he is actually wearing the chain of his office!
Completing this presentation party are two of the Keepers office bearers – Hon Member, Emil Pacholek, and Communications Manager, Jack Munro, who with his wife Sue, have been responsible for raising significant levels of funding for Ritchie's chair.
The fifth recipient is a well known local man, Ralph Duncan , respected in the town who unfortunately is in need of a chair which is controlled from the back. To get him out and about, his wife Sheila will probably take charge of that, and when our main man and adviser Colin from Medi-Cosse suggested alternatives – given the choice - she plumped for this chair – easy to control and liked the simplicity of it, fitted with a reliable power pack which could be easily serviced or repla
This chair is sponsored by Stay in St.Andrews an hotel and guest house association whose primary aim is to promote our historic town as a year round tourism destination. The Association has a strong community focus and, as a means to putting something back in the town has supported two local nominated charities –the Cosmos Centre and Keepers of the Green over the last six years. This is the second time that that “Stay in St. Andrews “ has donated a chair at an Open at St. Andrews, and we are grateful for their continuing support. The Association is represented at todays presentation by President Niall Thompson, Vice president Ray Pead and membership secretary Jackie Wright.
The final chair has already been well used by Paul Bain from Pitscottie, who, like Caroline Chalmers, was given the chair early to allow him to get about sooner rather than later.
Paul said this morning that the chair has already made a huge difference to his life.
I am delighted to announce that The Senior Caddies of St. Andrews set up a charity fund with the intention of raising over three thousand pounds to change some ones life for the better - and have done so for Paul! Well done boys.
They have been active in a wide range of fund raising over the last 20 years. Much of that recent activity has been led by David Coyne and John Boyd, supported by Tam Robertson and Jimmy Reid.
In 2012 David Coyne’s father was provided with a wheelchair by Keepers, which in his own words “greatly enhanced both my mobility and independence”. Based on his fathers new lease of life, David and his team decided to start up a new charity fund. They have asked me to acknowledge the support they have received from so many caddies and the general public.
Before concluding today’s presentation Keepers of the Green would like to acknowledge the work of our preferred wheelchair provider.
Med Ecosse is a family based company based in Pathhead near Edinburgh which is managed by Colin Struthers, here today. He is a man with 20 years experience in this field. MedEcosse is responcible not only for assessing and supplying wheelchairs for all recipients but also for a full maintenance contract for each chair which ensures peace of mind for all concerned. Thank you Colin and Graham for making this possible.
And to our final thank yous!
To the R. & A.s director of operations Rhodri Price with special thanks to Karen MacLeod and Karen McCallum. To our past secretaries and our recently appointed new secretary Lynne Bailey who was literally thrown in at the deep end and, I'm glad to say, has not drowned! If I could just reassure her that things will get easier after today…..maybe!
I said at the start that this was the 20th Anniversary of Keepers of the Green – it is also, sadly, the 20th Anniversary of the death of Lawrence Levy a renowned golf photographer and good friend and supporter of powered mobility. When he died aged 46 he left a legacy of 250,000 photographs of players and tournaments which is now housed and being collated in The University of St. Andrews as part of what was named The Cowie Collection.
Just round the corner here there is a tent showing some of this special collection and I encourage you to have a look at it. Whatever you do, enjoy the rest of the day and to our recipients –please be aware that there is a speed restriction of no more than twenty miles an hour around the course! Thank you all for attending.