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Fleetwood springs online surprise on England Golf’s Unsung Hero

11.30am 1st March 2021 - People - This story was updated on Wednesday, March 3rd, 2021

Tommy Fleetwood helped surprise the winner of England Golf’s Unsung Hero competition when the European Tour star joined an online chat with a gobsmacked Zung Tang-Bennett.

The Ryder Cup star took time out from practice to dial in from his Florida base and congratulate the former lady captain of Faversham Golf Club for her selfless efforts during lockdown.

You can watch the full video here.

The Kent golfer was nominated for the work she carried out on behalf of local charities as well as isolated members of her golf club. During the pandemic Zung raised over £6,000 for the Samaritans after being inspired by talking with two friends who volunteered on the charity’s phone lines. Money was raised by encouraging other golf club members to make face masks as well as knitting and selling blankets for the baby unit at a local hospital and homeless charities in and around Canterbury.

Zung also reached out to members of the Faversham golf community with regular emails, including poetry and jokes to offer a line of communication to those forced to shield or hold back from regular social activities during lockdown.

Fleetwood left the Vietnamese-born golfer lost for words when he joined in the online video call.

Tommy told Zung: “Thanks for letting us have this chat, thanks for everything you’ve done and keep it up. I’m sure no matter how small you think it is, others will think it’s a massive contribution to them and everyone is very proud of you.”

And when he asked how he could get his hands on the knitwear, our winner was able to strike a deal.

“He bought two headbands from me and I gave him a £2 discount,” Zung later admitted. “I was cheeky and also asked for signed pictures in return. I had to admit I wasn’t going to put them on the wall, but I will give them to this year’s captains at the club to auction off for charity.”

Zung won a nationwide search for an unsung hero – an ordinary golf club member or volunteer doing extraordinary things for others in the wider community. As well as being surprised on the video call, Zung has also received a complete golf outfit from leading sportswear brand adidas.

She added: “I’m gobsmacked and don’t know what to say about winning this. I was star struck with Tommy taking time out from his schedule. I don’t feel as if I’ve done that much. When then the pandemic hit and we couldn’t play golf, I asked what I could do. I set up the knitting club for the ladies and we did that for charity. We sent items to Thailand for cancer patients and then knitted for local hospitals and provided hats and blankets for the homeless shelter.

“Last March, I jumped in to make face masks on my decrepit old sewing machine and sold them. That went well and other ladies at the club asked to help and I said: ‘please do.’ We sold over £1,000 worth of face masks. Mine were basic, but they were needed at that time. There were a couple of others at the club – Jo and Paul – who got the ball rolling with the poetry and jokes. My role was to start the conversation chain.

“I had a lady at the club who has been shielding. She said to me she used to wake up every day and look forward to the emails from the group. I called us the ‘group of prisoners’ as we were locked down. She said every morning she’d log on to see emails from the group of prisoners and it cheered her up.”

In January, golf clubs were asked to nominate their unsung hero and England Golf was inundated with responses from all over the country. In the weeks ahead, England Golf will be showcasing some of the other outstanding efforts from golfers and volunteers on its website and social channels.

“Zung has had a wonderful effect on others and kept everyone connected,” admitted Jeremy Tomlinson, England Golf’s chief executive. “It’s important in these times that we have people to look up to and the examples we have received from all over the country are truly inspirational.”

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