Andrew Murray admitted he felt ‘slightly embarrassed and humble’ after winning the Toby Sunderland Award, which recognises outstanding charitable acts or contributions by a PGA professional.
The former Panasonic European Open champion, who has raised more than £250,000 for Manchester charities over the last 15 years, added that he was also “chuffed” and pleased for his personal assistant Sandra McPeake who has helped him from the outset.
“She runs my pro-am,” said a modest Murray. “I‘ve been very lucky because I get encouragement from many people.”
It is the second time he has won the award having shared it with fellow professional Nigel Preston in 2002 after they had played golf over a gruelling cross country route over rugged Derbyshire moorland to raise money for breast cancer.
“It was the year my mum died,” said Murray. “I‘m chuffed to win it on my own this time.”
Murray, who will receive his award at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, has helped a multitude of good causes, some close to his heart for family reasons and others for fellow professionals.
Last year he presented £15,000 to prostate cancer after discovering his old boss at Bramhall, Brian Nield, was suffering from the disease.
Together Trust, a children’s charity based in Cheadle Hulme and formerly known as the Boys and Girls Welfare Society, has received more than £100,000 over the years.
Other beneficiaries include the Genesis Breast Cancer Prevention Centre at Wythenshawe – he did a charity walk for it in Manchester earlier this month – and WaterAid.
Warren Sunderland, son of Toby after who the award is named after, praised Murray for his exploits and hopes he will continue his charitable efforts in the future. “In congratulating Andrew Murray I would just like to say that I am obviously delighted that he has won the award and hope this will encourage him to undertake further equally worthwhile projects in the future,” he said.
PGA chief executive Sandy Jones also hailed Murray’s charity work. “There can be no doubt that Andrew Murray is a worthy and outstanding winner of the Toby Sunderland Award,” said Jones. “Andrew was himself an outstanding player having won the European Open in 1989 and is now a renowned TV and radio commentator.
“He has spent his whole life around golf and in receiving this award for a second time has proved that his consideration of others is paramount in his mind. I offer my sincere congratulations to someone who is an inspiration to us all.”
Andrew suffered for many years from spondylitis which prematurely ended his Tour career. He had a corrective operation six years ago and is competing again with the North Region, mostly in pro-ams, and in selected European Senior Tour events.
Regional nominees were:
• South: Phil Taylor (Pachesham Golf Centre) having raised in excess of £120,000 for local community via an annual golf day in memory of his brother Chris.
• East: Ray Stocker (Searles Golf & Country Club) for his countless fundraising activities and work in promoting golf to children.
• Irish: Kevan Whitson (Royal County Down Golf Club) for his work with the Irish Special Olympic Golf Committee and the Irish Ladies Golf Union.
• Midland: Mike Ronan (Erewash Valley – retired) for a lifetime of fundraising in excess of £500,000.
• Scottish: Alan Tait (Spey Valley) for his work with the National Children’s Home Scotland, raising in excess of £275,000.
• West ;David Howell (unattached) for a charity golf day that raised in more than £75,000 in aid of the British Heart Foundation and in memory of former golf pro Toby Drayton.
Andrew Murray will be presented with the Toby Sunderland Award at the BMW PGA Championship on Sunday 25th May.