Rays of Sunshine and The Golf Foundation have been appointed as the Official Charity Partners of the 2017 BMW PGA Championship, the inaugural Rolex Series tournament at Wentworth Club from May 25-28.
To celebrate the partnerships, two-time European Tour champion Anthony Wall and cricketing legend Kevin Pietersen were on hand to help create an unforgettable experience for six seriously ill children by joining them to take part in a series of StreetGolf challenges. The initiative, created by The Golf Foundation, is a way to take the game of golf to young people in their own environments to try out the sport before progressing to a golf club.
Both charities are dedicated to brightening the lives of children in the United Kingdom, with Rays of Sunshine granting wishes for seriously ill children, and The Golf Foundation – a close friend of the European Tour – helping children and young people to enjoy the playing and personal benefits of golf.
Wall, who will make his 500th European Tour start next week, said he was delighted to see two charities benefiting from the BMW PGA Championship and is looking forward to the inaugural Rolex Series event of the year.
“It’s always great to see how our tournaments on the European Tour can have a positive impact within the local community and having the two charities, Rays of Sunshine and The Golf Foundation, I hope we can help bring some prominence to the great work they are doing with young children across the UK.
“The BMW PGA Championship is always a wonderful event, the atmosphere and the crowds are second to none, and I have no doubt this year it will be even more exciting as the first Rolex Series tournament of the year.”
Former England great Pietersen, a member at Wentworth Club, is one of a host of big names set to partner some of the world’s best golfers on Wednesday 24 May in the Celebrity Pro-Am, one of the major fundraising initiatives of the tournament.
“It’s fantastic to be at Wentworth today having a bit of fun with these kids and to help shed some light on the fantastic work Rays of Sunshine and The Golf Foundation do in our communities for everyone, no matter what their situation,” Pietersen said.
“I’m very much looking forward to playing the new West Course at the BMW PGA Championship Pro-Am, I have been watching the progress from afar for the last few months, and the day itself is always fantastic for everyone involved, and the fact that we can help raise funds for some important causes makes it even more special.”
Jane Sharpe, CEO, Rays of Sunshine, said: “We are honoured that the BMW PGA Championship has chosen to support Rays of Sunshine. The funds raised will enable us to grant wishes which brighten up the lives of young people across the UK, bravely fighting a serious or life-limiting illness.
“We are also grateful to be able to invite our beneficiaries to attend the tournament and create more precious memories by sharing the thrill of this prestigious experience first-hand.
“We are a relatively small charity which relies on donations to be able to continue our work. This important partnership will help us to fund some of the 1,200 wish requests we expect to receive this year.”
The Golf Foundation, through its HSBC Golf Roots programme, reaches 500,000 young people each year and encourages them to enjoy the playing and personal benefits of the game. Children of different backgrounds and abilities – including youngsters with a disability and those with special educational needs – can experience the joy of playing golf and learn valuable ‘Skills for Life’ associated with golf.
Brendon Pyle, Chief Executive, The Golf Foundation said: “The Golf Foundation is delighted to be working alongside Rays of Sunshine as the nominated charities of the European Tour for the BMW PGA Championship, where we will be running the longest putt competition and other junior activities in the spectator village.
“We look forward to welcoming many families and their youngsters to try golf with our team and learn more about the benefits of this great sport.”
Jamie Birkmyre, Championship Director of the BMW PGA Championship, said: “We are very pleased to welcome both Rays of Sunshine and The Golf Foundation on board as our Official Charity Partners of the BMW PGA Championship.
“The funds raised through the initiatives associated with the BMW PGA Championship will have a significant bearing on the lives of young people in the UK and we are very pleased to be able to help two fantastic charities in this way.”
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European Tour www.europeantour.com
Rays of Sunshine www.raysofsunshine.org.uk
Golf Foundation www.golf-foundation.org