Thursday, 07 September 2006

The 2006 European Senior Masters at Woburn Golf Club has already made a positive impact on the local community following the presentation of a Variety Club mini-bus to a nearby school for children with a disability.

Geoff Irvine, whose Bedford-based construction company Irvine Whitlock helped to pay for the specially-adapted vehicle, made the presentation to Graham Allard, headteacher of Ridgeway School in Kempston, and former professional boxer John Conteh on behalf of the Variety Club.

Ridgeway is home to 72 pupils, aged between three and 19, with a wide range of disabilities, many of them wheelchair-bound.

“This new bus is going to make a big difference to us,” exclaimed a delighted Mr Allard. “It can take six wheelchair-users at any one time and still have eight or ten seats left. It’s huge.

“At present the school would have had to use both of its older Variety Club buses to take that many children out. This new bus will allow us to take a larger number of wheelchair- users in one go. This makes trips much easier to organise and staff, and as a result, we should be able to take the children out more.”

The school will contribute £15,000 towards the cost of the pale-blue vehicle with the rest provided by Irvine through his membership of the Variety Club.

Irvine, a key sponsor of the European Seniors Tour, said: “I am a Bedford boy so every time I see it drive past it will remind me that I have contributed something to the local community. And when you see the looks on the kids’ faces you realise how much it means to them.

“It was something tangible that I could give. Life’s about people who are fit and healthy helping those people who are less fortunate.”

The 2006 European Senior Masters starts at Woburn Golf Club on Friday with Mark James of England as defending champion.

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