An ‘adrenaline junkie’ PGA professional has admitted to feeling humble after his extraordinary charitable efforts saw him honoured with the 2010 Toby Sunderland award.
Jonathan Lawrence, head professional at Farrington Golf & Country Club near Bristol, was nominated after undergoing four Herculean tests in raising significant funds for the South West Children’s Hospice.
He collected the accolade, which recognises the charitable efforts of PGA professionals, at Wentworth on the final day of the BMW PGA Championship. He also received £1,000 for the charity of his choice.
The 31-year-old explained how he was inspired to push himself to the limit for the hospice having being chosen as the Captain’s Charity at his club.
Throughout the year, Lawrence was unflinching in his support over a number of arduous months which saw him undergo a 15,000 foot parachute jump, cycle 880 miles from John O’Groats to Land’s End in seven days, run the Bristol Half Marathon with club vice captain Alistair Shanks before running the Snowdonia Marathon – rated one of the top five hardest marathons in Europe.
On collecting the award he said: “I am an adrenaline junkie and these challenges were something that came out of chats and beer with mates and it was a case of let’s do this,” he said.
“Looking back over the year all of the events were something I enjoyed doing and to be recognised for it in the process is something that is very humbling and something I didn’t expect.
“I put in a lot of sacrifice in terms of work and when I could teach and my personal life, because all my spare time I seemed to be training. For the bike ride and the marathon there were times when the training all became a bit too much and I did contemplate quitting.
“But what continued to push me was the charity because what I was going through was nothing compared to those parents and children who use the hospice.
“What they do in terms of the support they give and the service they provide to the families and children is incredible. I don’t have children but I do have a Godson and Goddaughter and I can only imagine how difficult it can be and how much more it would be without that support.
“That, more than anything, always got me through the times when it was really tough. But it was brilliant year and the experience of riding from John O’Groats to Land’s End and seeing the extent of people’s generosity is something that will stick with me because it was just fantastic.”
Warren Sunderland of Sunderland Golf commented “They were all worthy nominees for the award but no-one has made more effort than Jonathan. He has displayed a quite extraordinary determination to push himself the extra mile – literally in the case of his marathon efforts. When we sat down and looked at what he had actually done we were all in awe.”
Also nominated for the 2010 Toby Sunderland award were:
Stephen McAllister (Playsport Golf) for his involvement with the Teddy Bear Foundation and in particular an annual pro-am raising in the region of £50,000 per year.
Paul Stuart (London Golf Club) & Benn Barham (Chart Hills) for raising in excess of £36,000 from a golf day in aid of Demelza House Children’s Hospice.
John Watson (Total Golf Analysis) for raising in excess of £23,000 for The Wayahead charity whose focus is acquired brain injury; Childflight, which provides holidays for sick children, and Wish Upon A Star.
Craig Laurence (Stock Brook Manor) in recognition of continued charitable events which have raised in excess of £100,000 over 15 years for the likes of Cancer UK, Brainwave, The Make A Wish Foundation, English Blind Golf and Essex Air Ambulance.
Robert Macey (Ramsdale Park) in recognition of raising £16,000 in aid of Rainbow Children’s Hospice and the Nottinghamshire & Lincolnshire Air Ambulance by playing four courses in one day – using a helicopter as transportation.
Bobby Browne (Laytown & Bettystown) for his volunteer work in encouraging schoolchildren to take up the game via a free lesson, plus his role as treasurer of the Teddy Bears Golf Classic.