Lee-on-the-Solent golf teams tee off for charity

TEAM Vice-captain Shirley Skelton, ladies captain Jane Bennett, Toza and Mary Smith from Guide Dogs. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (123597-2)
TEAM Vice-captain Shirley Skelton, ladies captain Jane Bennett, Toza and Mary Smith from Guide Dogs. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (123597-2)
Pupils from Cliffdale Primary Academy

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GENEROUS golfers have raised enough cash to name a puppy, contributing to the funding of guide dogs for the blind.

The ladies team at Lee-on-the-Solent Golf Club, led by captain Jane Bennett, presented a cheque of £3,572 to the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association, at the club in Brune Lane yesterday.

And the team of more than 60 golfers were visited by puppy walker Mary Smith and Toza, a nine-month-old German Shepherd cross, who is halfway through his 18 months of training to become a guide dog.

Their fundraising effort means that they can now name a puppy like Toza, which will be bred and trained by Guide Dogs.

The team have chosen the name Leeon, as it fits the criteria set by Guide Dogs, having two syllables and cannot easily be confused for a command word, and also refers to the club.

Mrs Bennett said she was happy with the effort from all of the team, after she picked the charity last November.

She said: ‘Each year the captain and the lady captain choose a charity, so for the whole year, every time we run an event such as a raffle we will collect money towards our chose charity, which I, having had dogs, and loving animals decided I would go with Guide Dogs.

‘So when we started the year, I organised a ‘Go Walkies’ event.

‘I asked the ladies from the golf club if they had dogs would they come for a walk and have a sponsor form, and even if they haven’t got a dog to come for the walk anyway.’

The donations were also bolstered by an ‘Am Am’ competition, which saw clubs from around the area pay to take part in the competition, winning prizes or paying fines for not reaching par on the course.

That event raised £1,200 for Guide Dogs alone.

Katie Smith, community fundraiser at Guide Dogs, said: ‘It’s so important, aseach guide dog partnership costs us £50,000. We’ve got 4,500 guide dogs working in the UK so that’s a lot of money that we need to fundraise for.

‘Naming a guide dog puppy is absolutely brilliant because people are fundraising for us but they get a really good result from it, they get to learn about the puppy too and get updates from it.’

Guide Dogs require a group to raise £2,500 before they can name a puppy.

The team will hold an AGM tonight to decide on a new captain for next year who will pick a new charity.