A greenkeeper at Chipstead Golf Club in Surrey received a standing ovation at the BIGGA Awards, held last night (22 January) on the opening evening of the BIGGA Turf Management Exhibition, in recognition of his selfless efforts in helping the homeless.
Jack Percival, 24, was among the prize winners at the BIGGA Welcome Celebration, where he was awarded the Outstanding Contribution of the Year sponsored by Jacobsen.
Chipstead deputy course manager Jack hosted an event in Croydon on 23 December that provided food and warmth for the homeless during Christmas.
The 24-year-old, who was himself homeless for six months when he was 17, put out an appeal on social media for donations, with a huge number from within the golf industry and the wider world responding.
The work was a huge success but is just one example of Jack’s incredible efforts to support the homeless and those less fortunate. Each Christmas he had previously made up sandwiches and soup and travelled via bus to Croydon to give out food to the homeless.
He also volunteers weekly with Croydon Nightwatch, which is where a member of staff encouraged him to seek support for the aid he provides at Christmas. Since then, Jack received vanloads of sleeping bags, hygiene essentials and warm clothes, in addition to donations of food, raising national awareness of his campaign.
Jack said: “This is unbelievable, I didn’t think I could cry in front of hundreds of people, it was just brilliant.
“I didn’t do this for an award, I was homeless myself when I was 17 and I did six months on the street. I turned my life around, met my partner, and this is just the start for me. We did a big feed at Christmas and there was one guy who cried because he got a haircut. I saw a guy dance because he got new shoes and you can’t put a price on that.”
BIGGA Chief Executive Officer Jim Croxton said: “When I heard Jack’s story I was absolutely blown away. Having heard what he went through during those six months when he lived on the street and then seeing how he has worked tirelessly in the years since to not only turn his life around but also provide opportunities for others less fortunate, is quite inspirational.
“I’m delighted that we have been able to recognise Jack’s achievements in this small way. He is an incredible young man and I’m proud to call him a member of the association.”
“Congratulations also to Amanda Dorans and Carl Flavell, whose incredible stories made them extremely worthy finalists for this award.”
BTME 2019 runs until Thursday 24 January and features more than 159 exhibitors from all aspects of the turf management industry. The exhibition is a celebration of the golf greenkeeping industry in the UK and each year more than 5,000 greenkeepers, trade members, club managers and other representatives come together to network and share the latest education and innovation opportunities.
The Outstanding Contribution of the Year award is sponsored by Jacobsen
Pictured above: Jack Percival with Textron’s Andre Andrade and BIGGA Chairman Scott Reeves
Visit http://btme.org.uk/ for more information.