Swinging in the rain - Golfer Matt braves the weather for 10 rounds of golf all in the name of charity

Given the weather conditions over the last few days, a round of golf would probably have been the last thing on most people’s minds.

By Rahmah Ghazali
Friday, 14 June, 2019, 15:36

But it was just the one round that Matthew Gibson braved the rain for – he completed 10 rounds and clocked up 45 miles, all in the name of charity.

The dad-of-two, aged 43, started his first round at Hillsborough Golf Club as early as 4am on Friday and he said he was initially unsure how to raise money for charity.

Debra Burton and Wayne Widdowson and their son Gene. Picture: Scott Merrylees

He added: “But when my close friends had a hard time with their first baby as the labour went through some complications, it felt closer and meant more to me to do this.

The chosen charity is the Sheffield Hospital’s Charity, in particular the Jessops Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NNU).

He said the unit had done ‘amazing things’ to improve people’s lives especially his close friends, Debra Burton and Wayne Widdowson and their baby Gene Widdowson, who is now 12 weeks old.

Gene’s heart stopped upon delivery, had a kidney failure, couldn’t breathe for himself and had zero brain activity.

Matthew Gibson who is completing 10 rounds of golf at Hillsborough Golf Club to raise funds for the Jessops Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Picture: Scott Merrylees

But thanks to the determination and never giving up attitude of the staff, his health has improved immensely since.

And Matthew said raising funds for the unit was a way for him to thank them for the good work they did.

“I don’t know how you train for this but all I know that my muscles are going to be in pain,” he said, adding that the persistent rain made it even harder.

“It is more difficult to play in the rain because the grass gets a lot heavier and and you can’t hit the ball as far.”

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But keeping the momentum going was the hardest bit, he said, as he needed to have the endurance and the mental strength.

“I will cover 45 miles by the end of today. I will hit the golf ball over 35 miles, that is like hitting the golf ball all the way to Nottingham,” he joked.

Mr Widdowson and Ms Burton, of Handsworth, who have known Mr Gibson for more than 15 years, said they couldn't thank him enough for what he had done..

Ms Burton said: “What he’s doing is absolutely amazing. It makes you feel very special. And the fact that he’s doing it and going to be dedicated in it towards the cause is just amazing.”

She also said that the unit deserved to be recognised for its work as it has given all the support, not just for their baby, but for other families as well.

“They really looked after the families and provided things while we were there,” she said.

One of Mr Gibson’s caddies, Charlie Wild, said she did not know that she would be working with him, until she read what the cause was about.

“Some people don’t get the right support, and this is close to my heart because my brother, who had died, spent most of life in many hospitals.

“I believe the hospital needs the money and all the support. I’ve done a couple of rounds with him, but he has got some amazing shots in this weather.

“It is incredible that he is so motivated,” she said.

To donate search ‘Raising money for The Sheffield Hospitals Charity’ on JustGiving.