A Scottish PGA Professional’s unstinting charity fundraising efforts have won him a national award.
East Renfrewshire Golf Club’s Stewart Russell, who has helped raise £250,000 over 15 years for a number of good causes, received the Toby Sunderland Award during the PGA’s annual reception on the eve of the Open Championship at Royal Troon.
The accolade is handed out each year to celebrate the many wide-ranging charity achievements by PGA pros across the UK.
Russell’s feats stretch back 15 years when he launched the Pink Ribbon Ball to fund a Breast Cancer Unit at Crosshouse Hospital in Kilmarnock.
Other beneficiaries have been Sense Scotland, Friends of the Beatson cancer unit, Yorkhill Children’s Hospital, Darlinda’s Charity, Erskine Hospital and the Western Infirmary.
“It’s an honour and privilege to receive this award at Royal Troon,” said Russell who received his award from PGA captain Nicky Lumb.
“There are many, many pros who do a lot of fantastic charity work and whether you raise a £100, £1,000 or £100,000 it doesn’t matter, it’s the the time and effort put in for a variety of good causes that counts.
“For me, it was one of those things that seemed the right thing to do. It all started with a friend whose daughter was deaf and blind so we supported Sense Scotland. I’ve also known a lot of people who’ve suffered through the horrible disease cancer so that has been a big incentive to raise money to fight that.”
Russell is already planning for next year’s charity efforts with a signed Callaway Open golf bag and Open Championship flags from Troon already tucked away while he also received a cheque for £1,200 for winning the Toby Sunderland Award to give to a charity of his choice.
In addition to Russell there were six other regional nominees for the award.
Angus Law, Wirrall Ladies Golf Club – PGA in England (North) Angus has raised more than £20,000 by competing in Iron Man events, benefiting charities such as Claire House, Stick ‘n’ Step, the Breast Cancer Unit in Clatterbridge and Sundown’s which supports children with Down’s Syndrome.
Alan Fletcher, Girton Golf Club – PGA in England (East) – has completed a series of gruelling physical challenges for the British Heart Foundation after his previously fit and healthy father in law suffered a heart attack and died in his sleep aged 52. Alan has competed in the London Triathlon, Cotswolds 40-mile hill climb, the Cambridge 100-mill cycle and the New York Marathon.
George Porter, North Hants Golf Club, PGA in England (South) – undertook a charity ‘teach-a-thon’ where he gave 100 15 minute lessons during the day to raise more than £1,000 for the Alzheimer’s Society.
Emma Brown, Windmill Golf Academy, PGA in England & Wales (South West) – a consistent supporter of a number of charities, Emma has generated nearly £15,000 in aid of Macmillan/cancer research, Prostate Cancer, Poppy Appeal, Pauls Place, Star Charity, Cry and St Peter’s Hospice. This year she is running the Bath half marathon for the Clic Sergeant Charity.
Cameron Clark, Moor Hall Golf Club, PGA in England (Midlands) – Cameron has generated more than £100,000 for charity. He was inspired to stage his first charity golf day in 2010 following the death of his mother from cancer, and the popularity and success of the event has continued to gain momentum.
It has now been held seven times at his home course and the latest raised more than £18,000 for Birmingham Children’s Hospital and the Teenage Cancer Trust.
Philip Farrell, Laganview Golf Centre, PGA in Ireland – for the past three years has given lessons to residents of the Suffolk Care Centre in Belfast to people with physical and mental disabilities, helping develop their confidence, interest in golf and the other benefits that golf brings.