Guest of honour Colin Montgomerie reflected on his recent visit to Afghanistan at the 10th annual PGA fundraising lunch in London.
The Scot, who travelled to the war-torn country last month with PGA captain Eddie Bullock and former captain Parnell Reilly, was reunited with the pair at the Grosvenor House Hotel on Friday, 16 December plus some of the soldiers he met during the three-day excursion, which included time at Camp Bastion.
On a day in which the PGA also presented cheques to the Elizabeth Montgomerie Foundation and the Golf Foundation, Montgomerie, revealed the PGA delegation’s visit to the British troops, assisted by the Tickets for Troops charity, had left him with increased respect and admiration for the difficult job undertaken by soldiers on the frontline.
“I was honoured to have been given the opportunity to represent the PGA along with Eddie Bullock and Parnell Reilly,” said Montgomerie.
“It has been a life-changing trip for me. The memory of teaching the youth of downtownKabulhow to swing a golf club is one that will linger. All these children have known is war. They were born in war, they remain in war, and they know nothing different.”
Bullock added: “Meeting the troops inAfghanistanwas one of the most memorable experiences of my life and we were particularly struck by the professionalism they bring to a difficult task on the frontline.
“It is a marvellous opportunity at the PGA lunch, which is all about raising money and supporting good causes, to again publicly pay tribute to our troops.”
A theme of support and benevolence was central to the lunch with several charitable donations.
These included the PGA donating a cheque for £25,000 to the Elizabeth Montgomerie Foundation – the charity set up by Monty in memory of his mother which aims to raise money for cancer patients and their families.
Meanwhile the traditional auction and raffle also generated money for the PGA Benevolent Fund which helps PGA members in difficult times. This was supplemented by a cheque from De Vere Group chief executive and chairman Andy Coppel CBE for £5,334, which was raised by generous golfers at its 11 resorts over the past year.
Finally, the PGA underlined its on-going commitment and support to grassroots golf with a cheque for £34,000 which was presented by PGA captain Bullock to Montgomerie in his role as president of the Golf Foundation.
PGA chief executive Sandy Jones added: “The PGA is delighted this year’s annual lunch inLondonhas had its biggest attendance ever in the history of these lunches. The lunch has always celebrated the many aspects of golf and this year in particular we were able to showcase the benevolence that golf can bring to many both within and outside the game.”
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