Peter Alliss’ Irish charity quest
‘Voice of Golf’ joins forces with Irish clubs and businesses to extend powered wheelchair project, writes Brian Keogh
PETER Alliss has issued an invitation to golf clubs and businesses in Ireland to play in his own special charity tournament – and help many disadvantaged youngsters ‘drive’ towards a brighter future.
‘The Voice of Golf’ for many, he has used his celebrity to further many good causes, but few have benefited more from his time and enthusiastic commitment than the Alliss Masters Wheelchair Crusade, a project whose aim is to provide powered wheelchairs for those who cannot stroll the fairways at will.
“There are not enough words for me to express my delight in joining forces with my golfing friends in Ireland to extend the range of clubs and businesses engaged in competing in my Alliss Masters Wheelchair Crusade,” he said in Belfast this week.
“Knowing the Irish and their boundless enthusiasm as I do, success is a foregone conclusion,” added the veteran who has helped raise an astonishing £7 million (€7.7m) since he lent his name to the peterallissmasters.org charity in 1988.
“Back in the early days a powered wheelchair (PWC) cost about £300 (€330), today we need to raise over £3,000 (€3,300) for each one, and it never ceases to amaze me when I see the generosity of golf clubs, business and other organisations who put their shoulder to the wheelchair, so to speak, and provide those less fortunate with the mobility to live their lives as independent young men and women.”
The Peter Alliss Masters (PAM) will take place at Hampshire’s idyllic Old Thorns resort from September 16-17 next year, with those who purchase the specially-created Irish Packages able to enjoy two days golf, fine wining and dining, and compete for the coveted men’s PAM green jacket and ladies’ green pashmina.
The highlight of the week is the presentation of the powered wheelchairs to the delighted youngsters who’ll have their families there to share in a wonderful occasion.
Alliss is particularly thrilled at the prospect of some of these wheelchairs being presented at The Open Championship at Royal Portrush in July next year, and there can be no greater incentive to add lustre to what will be Ireland’s biggest-ever sporting event than to be part of a very unique week of golf in Northern Ireland.
Alliss is certainly looking forward to The Open returning to Irish shores.
“I have a great affection for Royal Portrush and have been treated superbly on my visits to that famous club, and I’m delighted to see it back on The Open Championship rota after a 67year break,” said Alliss.
He has asked Michael Moss, President of the Irish Golf and Cub Managers Association, to head up this extension of the longestablished scheme.
“If a club raises somewhere in the region of £5,000 that would provide a wheelchair,” Moss explained. “They would present that at The Open and they would be invited to send three members to the tournament at Old Thorn, where Peter’s son Henry Alliss is the pro.
“One way of doing it is to organise a competition or a classic in the club to raise the funds and by having qualifiers within that competition, those qualifiers would win the trip to the Peter Alliss Masters and the club would present the wheelchair.
“That club would then go to The Open next year and present the wheelchair to a handicapped child who would be chosen from their area in that case.”
Recently honoured for his services to the game and to charity during his 39-year career as Secretary Manager at Portstewart Golf Club, Moss is excited by the initiative.
“Rory, Darren, Padraig and the Irish professionals on show will have eyes on loosening Francesco Molinari’s grip on the famous Claret Jug – while a lot of us will be able to feel we’ve been able to provide a lifechanging prize for some very deserving people,” he said.
“We’ve contacted golf clubs in Northern Ireland, and some of the top clubs in the Republic, and we know how generous the sporting community in Ireland is and I’m convinced we’ll have tremendous support for the work done by Peter and his team in their Wheelchair Crusade.
“The Peter Alliss Irish Masters offers a variety of ways in which groups and individuals can contribute, and as well as raising funds for these powered wheelchairs there is the unique opportunity to play in the Masters event in Hampshire next year and to enjoy some lavish Old Thorns hospitality.
“Peter’s wife Jackie is the tournament Director, and she has been tireless in her efforts to ‘grow’ the charity and provide these superb wheelchairs for those disadvantaged young people who have really bloomed with the freedom and mobility they offer,” said Moss.
“We know the very name ‘Peter Alliss’ will bring the Irish golfing family to the charity, but we hope that our reach will go beyond that, to the general public in Ireland which will be inspired by the aims and achievements of the last 40 years,” said Moss.
“All the details of the new Peter Alliss Irish Masters can be found on peterallissmasters.org and we can’t wait to hear from all those in Ireland we know will want to be involved.”
In 1975 the first wheelchairs were presented, the cause capturing the attention of many leading professionals, with Lee Trevino and Fuzzy Zoeller the first high-profile names to personally donate these chairs.
Open champions have regularly followed suit, and one of the most charismatic of them all, the unforgettable Seve Ballesteros, gave no fewer than 17 PWCs to the charity during his glittering career.
The Peter Alliss Masters began in 1988, and his generous support gave the Powered Wheelchair Crusade a huge boost and the cause has now raised over £7 million (€7.7m).
In 2017 alone, £150,000 (€165,300) was spent to allow 50 young people with mobility and other problems to be presented with powered wheelchairs by the charity.
The Peter Alliss Irish Masters is a Registered Charity.
Jackie Alliss, Michael Moss, President of the Irish Golf Managers Association and Peter Alliss at the launch of the Peter Alliss Irish Masters at GolfNow in Belfast. Picture: John Dickson/ Dicksondigital.com