Golf Column: Real McCoy and stars shine for ‘Walker Cup’

AP McCoy and Andy Waple
AP McCoy and Andy Waple
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It was my good fortune to be teamed up with none other than top jockey AP McCoy last week at the Dan Walker Charity Golf Day staged to raise money for Sheffield Children’s Hospital.

The Irishman, who is the most successful jump jockey of all time, made the journey from his Wiltshire home to Hallamshire Golf Club to support Dan, his BBC colleague, despite his very busy racing schedule.

“Dan asked me if I could play and I agreed without really checking my diary,” he said, revealing he was due to race at Southwell the following day. “It’s busy week but I made the commitment and I’m a man who keeps his word.”

That was a generous gesture indeed from a man who has made more than £14 million from racing and has played golf with Tiger Woods.

He had met Dan last year when the jockey joined Radio 5 live as a racing pundit and they have been friends ever since.

AP McCoy was one of many sporting and broadcasting celebrities who helped Dan raise more than £10,000 for the hospital where he is a patron.

They included Alan Shearer, Robbie Savage, Chris Kamara, Mark Lawrence and Phil Neville from the football world, former rugby star Neil Back and TV presenter Helen Skelton. A further 18 other celebrities turned out to compete in the inaugural “Walker Cup” organised by Hallamshire and run with the help of a team of volunteers from the club.

Dan Walker, a Hallamshire member himself, hopes to repeat his “Walker Cup” next year and if last week’s event was anything to go by there will not be any problems in filling the tees. He said: “It was great to see so many celebs, footballers and champions take part and I can’t thank everyone enough for coming along.

“The day was all about raising money for The Children’s Hospital Charity and supporting Team Theo.

“The Children’s Hospital is an amazing place that changes and saves lives far beyond the boundaries of this great city. If we can make a difference for one child, one family, then it’ll be well worth it.”

Dan’s day is just one of many charity golf days that take place in the Sheffield region each year each raking in thousands for local charities.

Among the most successful are the Weston Park Hospital Cancer Charity run by former patient John Price and his wife Anne.

From their fundraising efforts throughout the years, John and his family have raised more than £100,000 for the charity – with this year’s event raising more than £30,000.

Among the other big events are the Neurocare Golf Day and the numerous golf days for various charities organised over the years by retired Consultant Surgeon Ewen Mackinnon, who has raised over £80,000 for The Children’s Hospital Charity alone.

Ewen passed a notable landmark this year when he held his 25th consecutive annual golf event at Sicklehome golf club for the Children’s.

David Vernon-Edwards, The Children’s Hospital Charity Director, said: “We are overwhelmed by the support that Ewen has given the Charity over the last 25 years. His golf days continue to flourish and it’s great to see how many people have supported the event from the beginning as well as new teams joining the day and raising vital funds for the Make it Better appeal to transform our hospital.”