In 1997, Matlock Golf Club wrote to Tiny Tim Trust offering to host a charity golf day for us. It caused us some amusement at the time. What did any of us know about how to play golf, let alone organise a tournament? But it is not what you know, it is who you know and Mary White had a friend who could design such a day.
Ewen MacKinnon, then a busy paediatric surgeon at Sheffield Children’s Hospital, was the friend indeed. He accepted the task wholeheartedly, devised the format and the rules while Mary had the task of recruiting sponsors, volunteers and organising team prizes.
The tournament took place on Friday, September 16th, 1997 and we made a handsome profit of over £1000.00. Flushed with success, we wondered whether we could repeat the exercise. If we did, could it be an annual event? Where would we hold it? Should we try a different club each year or should we find ourselves a permanent home? Since there were not too many charity golf days at that time, we were slightly ahead of the field.
John Milner. John was immediately very enthusiastic. He sold the idea so well to Chevin members that, in our first year, more than half the field were club members who were only too happy to support the event by paying TTT in order to play on their own course and raise money for us.
Their generosity did not stop there. The Club offers us a great deal of support, Chevin member, David Hardy, of Hardy, Miles Titterton, volunteered to act as chief agent and sales person in Derby. So – we had, not just a permanent home, but the use of one of the finest courses in Derbyshire.
After John retired as Secretary, along came Mike Reilly, his successor, with an equal degree of enthusiasm and support. Much to our great sadness, Mike died suddenly in August 2012.
Our patron until his death in 2004 was Andrew Cavendish, 11th Duke of Devonshire KG, MC, PC. The Duke was always a keen supporter of the work of the Trust and – in particular – the golf day. He regularly attended and presented tournament prizes. We were very sad to lose him and concerned for the future. Again – we had to go shopping.
As a very small charity, we thought it might be difficult to replace the Duke but we were delighted when Derbyshire- born entertainer, Tim Brook-Taylor, accepted our invitation to become our new patron.
The evening has always been an important part of the day. And we were fortunate to acquire the services, as MC, of TV Presenter Simon Groom who later became a patron. Celebrity auctioneer James Lewis, who initially agreed to act as auctioneer for us, has also since become a patron.
The sun usually shines but this has not always been the case. Indeed, in 2009, it rained so hard throughout August that, on the day of our tournament, the course had flooded and was unplayable. Quite the worst of all scenarios. We stood to lose a great deal of money as well as the income the day should have generated. This could even have spelled the end of the Trust.
However, although there was no golf played, no one took their registration fee back and most people turned out for supper, auction and raffle in the evening. It turned out to be the most profitable day to date.
As a thank you for the support given, we decided to invest in a star guest as an after dinner speaker the following year 2010. As a rule we try to keep costs as low as possible so that the maximum sum of money raised is available but this was to be an exception. We obtained the services of Geoff Miller, England cricket selector and native of Chesterfield, and he entertained our guests royally.
And so it seems that in spite of increasing competition from other charity golf days, our event has managed to hold its own.
The annual Golf Tournament is the principal fund raising activity undertaken by the Trust. Members of Chevin Golf Club remain our greatest supporters along with the loyal support of our teams. Its success depends on the generosity of those who sponsor aspects of the tournament, or offer raffle prizes or items for the evening auction. We are always looking out for more support in these areas and welcome any offers of sponsorship, prizes, team entries and guest speakers.
It really is a fun day – please join us and our band of staunch helpers most of whom have been with us since the very first tournament and to whom the Trust owes a large debt of gratitude.
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