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Alex Williams
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Third charity golf event on course to help injured servicemen

Skipton Golf Club was home to our third annual charity golf day, in aid of the On Course Foundation, on Monday 9 June. The event was organised by David Rasche in conjunction with the Halifax-based insurance software provider he founded, SSP. Although it rained for the first nine holes, the skies cleared and the Craven scenery could be seen in all its glory for the remainder of another fantastic day and evening of fundraising for the charity.

The On Course Foundation is a charity that helps severely injured servicemen and women recover through golf, as well as helping them find employment in the golfing industry and other supporting businesses. Set up four years ago by John Simpson, a former Senior Vice President of the sports management business, IMG, it is privileged to have The Duke of York as its UK Patron, and Arnold Palmer as Patron in the US.

“Golf, through the handicap system, is probably the only sport where disabled people can compete on even terms with able-bodied competitors,” said David Rasche.

“The service personnel find it a very positive force for both their mental and physical rehabilitation. Previously very fit individuals gain a new challenge, purpose, passion and social engagement through the charity which helps them rebuild their lives.”

SSP first became involved with the charity a few years ago, when David Rasche met John Simpson through golfing friends. As David’s eldest son is a senior Army Officer with experience of double tours of both Iraq and Afghanistan, he felt compelled to get involved. After supporting the charity for the past few years on SSP golf days, three years ago he decided it was time to take it a step further and organise a golf day at his home club.

Inviting business contacts from the insurance industry, the professions and local businesses, David was able to encourage 22 teams to get involved, with many insurance businesses including Beckett Insurance, Henderson Insurance, Ageas, Direct Group, RVM, Markerstudy and Premium Credit taking part. SSP and David’s other businesses, GB Group and Onyx Group, also entered teams and donated prizes.

Each team entered with three players and were then partnered with an injured serviceman to take part in the 18 hole Stapleford competition. Playing a shotgun start, all teams were off at 12.30 and after the initial rain, were lucky enough to enjoy the fabulous views in the Northern sunshine.

The scoring was excellent considering the early heavy rain and the winning three teams had insurance connections. Third place was claimed by the team from Beckett Insurance, with Sam Stoddart, ex-Kings Royal Hussars, Bob Beckett, Ilkley man, John Hanline and David’s son-in-law Paul Connolly. Second was the SSP team including David’s son Mark Rasche - a late replacement, Jonathan Davey, Richard Crocker and ex-RAF man Gez Almond.

Winners with a fabulous 99 points were the Deloitte Leeds team of Ilkley member Simon Wormald, Will Johnson, Matt Henderson and ex-Kings Royal Hussar, Richard Webb.

“Following an excellent dinner, the generosity of the guests at the auction was fantastic,” said David Rasche.

“We raised £13,000 through lots including a South African golf holiday, golf at two top Scottish courses and sporting memorabilia. Together with entry fees, donations and money collected for prizes at two par threes on the day, the grand total of money raised should be around £27,000.”

One event typifies the fortitude of the On Course members: Jason Evans, ex-REME, sadly slipped on the wet ground, twisting his prosthetic leg so badly it actually broke part of his leg around the stump. Undeterred by an ambulance trip to Airedale, he returned in amazingly good humour in time for the dinner with his team. He expected to be operated on at a hospital near home on the following day.

The charity is extremely grateful to Skipton Golf Club, everyone who took part and all the businesses and individuals who have supported the Skipton event in any way.