In the week of the BMW PGA Championship, representatives of The European Tour Wives Association visited Official Charity Shooting Star CHASE for what proved to be an emotional experience.
Led by Marie Fasth, chairperson of the Wives Association and Tour Players Foundation Trustees, the party which also included Diane Donald, wife of back-to-back BMW PGA Champion Luke, Tracy Goosen, wife of Retief, Valentina Molinari, wife of Francesco, and Charlotte Duffain, representing The European Tour and Tour Players' Foundation.
Shooting Star CHASE is the children's hospice service, supporting families with a child or teenager not expected to reach their 19th birthday. Shooting Star CHASE currently helps over 600 families living in western London, Surrey and West Sussex.
The charity will benefit from a series of fund-raising initiatives before and during the Tour’s flagship event at Wentworth Club from May 23-26, including the Wednesday pro-am. Meanwhile, on the tournament days from Thursday through Sunday spectators will be encouraged to offer a donation in return for the Official Programme, with 100 per cent of funds raised going towards Shooting Star CHASE.
The wives were taken on a tour of the facility, meeting staff and children and Fasth said it was an inspring - if difficult - experience.
"It was an emotional and heartbreaking visit for all of us," she said. "As mums ourselves, it was awful to see these children but it was also a memorable occasion to see how much this place was doing for them.
"This is clearly a very important charity for the children whom it helps, providing care and long-lasting, precious memories.
"The ETWA are thrilled that Shooting Star CHASE were chosen as the Official Charity of the BMW PGA Championship. The facility is only operating at 50 per cent of its capacity at the moment - not because they don't have the space but because of the lack of money out there.
"So our support for them is more important than ever."
The appointment of Shooting Star CHASE was led by the Tour Players’ Foundation (TPF) board of Trustees who look to support charities local to venues of European Tour’s events and offer the opportunity of ‘Changing children’s lives through golf’.
The charity provides care free of charge 365 days a year within the families' own homes and community and at their two children’s hospices.
Both of their hospices are within 20 miles of Wentworth Club - Christopher’s in Guildford and Shooting Star House, Hampton, where today’s launch took place.
Shooting Star CHASE provide families support for every step of their journey, sharing the good times, and helping them through the tough times with practical, nursing and emotional support.
Among the services offered are: planned short breaks at Christopher’s and Shooting Star House; Hospice at Home care; day care, education and special activities; family support and therapies; symptom management and paediatric palliative care; short notice support for families in a crisis; care at the end of a child’s life and bereavement care and support for all the family.