Suffolk PGA pro Kevin Carpenter who has forged a worldwide career as a trickshot showman has won a prestigious accolade for his charity fundraising efforts.
The Hintlesham Hall pro was presented with the Toby Sunderland Award – an annual honour given to pros that have excelled in their charity work – at the PGA’s annual reception on the eve of the Open Championship.
Six other PGA pros were nominated regionally – each receiving £250 to give to a charity of their choice – while Carpenter was presented with a cheque for £1200 to give to his chosen charity which is Breakthrough Breast Cancer in memory of his late mother who died from the disease.
Carpenter’s fundraising efforts include running the London Marathon twice in three years, dying his hair pink in the process and donating proceeds from his trick shot double act with Geoff Swain to the Bobby Robson Foundation Charity Day, Dreamflight Charity Golf Day and Ian Poulter’s IJP Junior Invitational Day.
“I’m honoured to win the Toby Sunderland Award but I just do the charity work because I love doing it, I’m not seeking any recognition,” said Carpenter. “The London Marathon was always something I wanted to do because my mom passed away five years ago and it was the chance to give something back to the people that had helped my mom.”
PGA chief executive Sandy Jones praised Carpenter and all the regional winners who received their awards from PGA captain Neil Selwyn-Smith. “It’s a great privilege to be able to honour Kevin and the other six nominees with these awards,” he said. “They demonstrate and reflect the commitment and effort that many PGA Professionals put in across the UK on a weekly basis particularly in helping raise money for important charities.”
Carpenter, a diehard West Ham fan who has also performed at the Bobby Moore Charity Golf Day, was inspired to pursue a new career as a trickshot show king while working as a coach at Celtic Manor when it hosted the World Trickshot Championship.
“I saw myself long term as a coach but really enjoyed the trickshot championship, tried a few shots and all of a sudden I had a routine and it’s gone from strength to strength,” added Carpenter who has mastered a unicycle as part of his act.
“What sealed it for me was performing in front of Ant and Dec at the All Stars Cup at Celtic Manor. It went really well and I thought if I can do it front of these guys I’ll give it a go so set up my own business as a trickshow performer.
“That was two years before the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor and I’ve had no regrets. I’m proud of what I have achieved so far and look forward to continuing to develop the show.”
Warren Sunderland said: “I’m delighted to again see so much fantastic charity fundraising by PGA professionals across the UK. Kevin’s energy and enthusiasm in raising funds for so many different charities has earmarked him as a very worthy and deserving winner.”
The regional winners also nominated are:
- PGA in Scotland: Stuart Kerr – Strathaven Golf Club. Raised £23,716 for Yorkhill Hospital, Glasgow, cycling from John O’Groats to Land’s End.
- PGA in Ireland: Ken Revie – Ballymena. Long-time supporter of junior golf coaching on an annual basis at 12 primary schools, 15 secondary schools and 20 special schools in the north east.
- The PGA in England (South): Graham Finch – raised more than £1,000 for Cure Parkinson’s Trust through running the Thames Trot – a 50 mile cross country run.
- The PGA in England (Midlands) – David Edwards. Through his trickshot shows has raised more than £25,000 for Wish Upon A Star charity.
- The PGA in England & Wales (South West): Gareth Bennett – Cottrell Park Golf Club. Ran London Marathon and Cardiff Half Marathon in support of Garrison Girls – a charity supporting victims and families of soldiers suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
- The PGA in England & Wales (North): Howard Bennett, Formby Hall. The former Irish national coach who helped nurture the likes of Darren Clarke, Paul McGinley and Padraig Harrington has written extensively of his experiences and donated money raised from his books to Preston-based Rosemere Golfers Against Cancer charity and Queenscourt Hospice.
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