Bernard Gallacher’s campaign to install a defibrillator in every golf club in the UK is gathering pace following its launch before Christmas.
The former Ryder Cup captain, who instigated the initiative after his brush with death at an Aberdeen hotel last August where only the presence of a defibrillator helped save his life, has issued a personal letter to every PGA Professional in the country urging them and their clubs to organise fundraising golf tournaments.
Money generated will go towards paying the costs of buying a life-saving automated external defibrillator (AED) which costs on average £1,200.
One of the earliest clubs to come on board is Shanklin & Sandown Golf Club on the Isle of Wight, led by captain Brian Porter who suffered a similar fate to Gallacher while on a golfing trip to South Africa last year.
“I read the article about Bernard Gallacher’s campaign and his cardiac arrest and how he was fortunate to survive and I’m one of those people who has had a similar experience,” said Porter.
“I was in South Africa on a golf holiday and had a heart attack ten minutes before I was due to go to the course and luckily the Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital was just round the corner and I was saved.”
Porter has led his club in organising a challenge week beginning on March 15 which will see men’s, ladies and seniors’ competitions plus other fundraising events culminating in the joint captains’ dinner at the end of the week.
“The campaign is something I was keen to support and I picked March 15 because that is the anniversary I had my scare,” said Porter. “I know all of the golf club secretaries on the island and I’ve laid down the challenge to the other clubs to do likewise.
“Our local newspaper has picked up on what we are doing and is supporting the event with editorial and hopefully we can raise funds to purchase a defibrillator and ideally get every club on the island to have the same.”
As part of the campaign organisers have compiled a checklist of suggested ideas for clubs which can be accessed here http://www.pga.info/media/221599/14playgolfsavelivesaaknowthedifference.pdf
Information includes how to register interest, opportunities to fund raise, details on setting a club target and ways to donate.
The fundraising campaign being run concurrently with the PGA and Arrhythmia Alliance – the Heart Rhythm Charity – is targeting around 2600 golfing venues with approximately four million club golfers potentially benefiting from the campaign