Rory McIlroy was not the only big winner at Wentworth Club last weekend as charitable causes were able to benefit to the tune of over £300,000 from a range of initiatives before and during the 2014 BMW PGA Championship.
Official Charity, Challengers, and the BBC’s Children in Need were the notable beneficiaries of a series of both well established and brand new charity fundraising initiatives, which saw the generosity of players, sponsors and spectators surpass last year’s championship.
Children in Need raised a considerable sum via the auctioning of the opportunity to play with BBC Radio 2’s Chris Evans and Vassos Alexander in the Celebrity Pro-Am alongside Justin Rose and Ernie Els respectively. The four generous donors paid around £50,000 each for the privilege of this once in a lifetime experience.
Challengers, as the Official Charity, exclusively benefitted from the onsite fundraising at Wentworth for the duration of the Championship and will receive around £75,000. The initiatives started with £30,000 being raised by the professionals and amateurs competing in last Wednesday’s Celebrity Pro-Am, when the pros in the field donated their appearance fees, along with significant funds raised via the amateurs’ donations to participate in the ‘Hit the Green’ competition on the par three 14th hole.
Over the course of the six official days of the Championship, in excess of £30,000 was raised from the generous donations from the spectators in exchange for the Official Programme & Drawsheet, which were distributed by Challengers volunteers and staff at various points across the Championship site.
Fun activities and special products within the spectacular Championship Village also raised significant funds for Challengers with the BMW PGA Championship 60th Anniversary Mega Putt Challenge leading the interactive fundraising. A £5 donation gave each participant three attempts at the Mega Putt, a complimentary souvenir anniversary Titleist golf ball and the chance to win superb golf equipment from Titleist and Scotty Cameron.
The HSBC Road Hole Bunker Challenge saw funds donated by the charitable arm of the European Tour, The Tour Players Foundation for each bunker shot holed which was fund-matched by Championship Sponsor, HSBC. In all, 16 players succeeded in holing the notoriously difficult bunker shot.
Official Clothing Supplier, HUGO BOSS, exclusively retailed a limited edition polo shirt in collaboration with BOSS Golfing Ambassador, Henrik Stenson within their mobile store with 10% of each purchase being donated to Challengers.
The initiatives within the Championship Village added vital funds to the amount raised for the Official Charity and together with an additional donation from the Tour Players Foundation added £15,000 to the total raised for Challengers.
The remainder of the grand total raised comprised of a variety of fundraising by numerous charities prior to the Championship week via inventory such as ticketing, hospitality and experiences at The European Tour’s Flagship event.
BMW PGA Championship Director, Jamie Birkmyre said: “We are delighted that in excess of £300,000 was raised for a variety of worthy causes thanks to the generosity of the professionals, amateurs, sponsors and spectators. We are particularly proud of the amount raised for Challengers, a wonderful local charity which does such great work for children and young people in Surrey and the surrounding areas and the funds raised will help enormously with their future projects.”
Challengers Chief Executive, Laura Sercome, added: “We are just thrilled by the amazing amount raised for Challengers at last week's BMW PGA Championship. It surpassed all our expectations and we can't thank everyone enough. As a local charity, opportunities like the Championship don't come along very often, and the chance to tell so many people about Challengers, and the difference we make for disabled children and their families was simply invaluable.
“We will use the funds for our Summer Holiday Play, Youth and Young Adults schemes, specifically to provide care for some of our children and young people who need 2:1 support – two Play or Youthworkers – to support their medical or personal needs. These schemes will help hundreds of disabled children and young people to have fantastic fun this summer and give their families a much-needed short-break.”
Challengers is dedicated to providing exciting and challenging play and leisure opportunities for disabled children and young people through their play and youth centres in Guildford and Farnham, as well as a range of community based projects across Surrey and surrounding areas.