Peter Al­liss’ Ir­ish char­ity quest

‘Voice of Golf’ joins forces with Ir­ish clubs and busi­nesses to ex­tend pow­ered wheel­chair project, writes Brian Keogh

Irish Independent - - Tee to Green -

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 pe­ter­al­liss­mas­ 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 pe­ter­al­liss­mas­ 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.

For Ir­ish book­ings con­tact Michael Moss MBE at michael.moss7@bt­in­ter­ or Tour­na­ment Di­rec­tor Jackie Al­liss at jackie@al­liss-pro­mo­

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/ Dick­sondig­i­

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