Challengers named BMW PGA Championship Official Charity

3/18/2014 12:00:00 AM
Peter Gordon (Patron, Challengers), Richard Bland, Laura Sercombe (Chief Executive, Challengers), James Morrison, David Park, Emily Timney (Challengers’ attendee) with Challengers staff and attendees (pic by Mark Lewis Photography) ()
Peter Gordon (Patron, Challengers), Richard Bland, Laura Sercombe (Chief Executive, Challengers), James Morrison, David Park, Emily Timney (Challengers’ attendee) with Challengers staff and attendees (pic by Mark Lewis Photography) ()

Surrey charity Challengers, which helps disabled children and young people, has been appointed the Official Charity of the BMW PGA Championship 2014.

The organisation, which is dedicated to providing exciting and challenging play and leisure opportunities through its centres in Guildford and Farnham, as well as a range of community-based projects across Surrey and Hampshire, will hugely benefit from being the Official Charity of The European Tour’s flagship event at Wentworth Club.

Challengers are expected to benefit from fundraising in the region of £50,000 during the tournament week, with the majority of the funds raised coming from donations made by spectators in exchange for the Championship’s Official Programme.

Challengers’ staff and volunteers will be at various Programme Booths across the Championship site, from the Park & Ride Car Parks and the Welcome Pavilion to on-course locations such as the first tee and fifth green, requesting a voluntary donation of £1 for each Official Programme which includes the Daily News and Draw sheet with 100 per cent of the donations made going to Challengers.

Laura Sercombe, Chief Executive, Challengers, said: “This is an amazing opportunity for us to raise awareness of the need for accessible play for disabled children and their families, and all our friendly volunteers are excited to help raise funds towards our work.”

Challengers will use the funds raised to help provide a specialist 2:1 support service for children with complex needs to access and enjoy play and leisure facilities. The need for this service increased by 61 per cent between 2012 and 2013, and is expected to rise again this year.

European Tour players Richard Bland and James Morrison took time out from their practice to help with the announcement of Challengers as the Official Charity of the BMW PGA Championship.

Morrison said: “As I live in Guildford I jumped at the chance to get involved with Challengers, who do such great work in my local area. The charity makes such a big difference to the lives of the children they look after, so I was happy to help out in any way I could. Hopefully we can raise lots of money at the tournament and bring a bit of happiness to the children’s lives.”

Bland, who finished tied fifth in last week’s Trophée Hassan II in Morocco, added: “Working with these children reminds you how incredibly lucky we golfers are, so it’s very important to give something back. I didn’t know too much about Challengers before, but I’ve heard great things about them so I’m looking forward to lending my support and finding out more about the fantastic work they do in the community.”

David Park, Charity Executive of the European Tour, said: “We are delighted to be appointing Challengers as this year’s Official Charity of the BMW PGA Championship.

“The charity does amazing work with disabled children and young people and their families across Surrey and the surrounding counties.  We hope that through the fundraising initiatives we can raise substantial funds for this very deserving cause that operates in such close proximity to the home of The European Tour and its flagship event.”

Challengers currently helps more than 1,400 disabled people aged between two and 25 in Surrey and Hampshire to experience fun in a safe and supportive environment.

It not only helps the development of disabled children and young people, but provides their families with the opportunity to take short breaks during high pressure times. The charity supports any child or young person with an impairment through its pre-school (2-4 years old), Play (age 4-12), Youth (13-18) and Young Adult (18-25) schemes.

To find out more about Challengers and the work they do, please visit here

The BMW PGA Championship offers six days of high quality entertainment, including Official Practice Day, Celebrity Pro-Am and four rounds of compelling competition from May 20-25. Tickets are available on the European Tour website here