FORMER Ryder Cup player and renowned TV commentator Peter Alliss has paid a special tribute to the charitable efforts of one local golf club.
Members at Helsby Golf Club have spent the past 30 years raising money for their Powered Wheelchair Appeal.
Alliss, described by many as the ‘Voice of Golf’, joined members and supporters of the charity to celebrate the milestone.
He enjoyed a successful, if comparatively short, professional career between 1954 and 1969, winning 21 professional tournaments – including three British PGA championships. He made eight Ryder Cup appearances, at a time when it was still Great Britain against the United States, before turning to golf commentary at the age of 38.
Alliss congratulated Helsby on the amazing work they had done over the past 30 years to raise the funds to donate more than 300 powered wheelchairs to local children with special needs. He explained that Helsby is the most successful member of his crusade to improve the quality of life of youngsters born with disabilities through the Peter Alliss Masters Golfing Society.
Mark Eccleston, a medal-winning wheelchair sportsman, was also among the special guests.
The evening started with the presentation of a further three wheelchairs to young people, who can now enjoy the benefits of greater mobility.
Eccleston, who won a silver medal in the tennis doubles at the 2004 Paralympics in Athens, delivered an inspirational speech.
He spoke about how he overcame his disabilities and represented his country at wheelchair table tennis, winning gold at the National Wheelchair Games.
Not content with excelling at one sport, Mark went on to play wheelchair rugby, progressing to become captain of the Great Britain team at two world championship finals and at the 1996 Atlanta Paralympics.
Looking for a fresh challenge, Mark turned to wheelchair tennis, going on to win seven national titles. He was the first British player to become No 1 in the world before winning the silver medal at the Athens Paralympics in 2004.
He is now passing on his enthusiasm for sport to children in the Halton area, where he is the Disability Sports Development Officer for special and mainstream schools.
Two days a week, he teaches at Chesnut Lodge, the special school in Widnes where he encourages the children to participate in wheelchair sports. Mark also runs after school clubs for the children for football and other sports.
The Wheelchair Appeal has donated a number of chairs to children at the school over the last 30 years and Mark explained the life-changing difference that a chair makes, giving them independence and self confidence.
He concluded by thanking all the supporters of the Appeal for their incredible generosity over the years.
The evening raised more then £2,500, which will go towards the next powered wheelchair.