Golf Classic raises almost £20k

John McAreavey presents former Banbridge Town player Dessie Edgar with his winning raffle prize, a pin-flag from Augusta signed by US Open champion Rory McIlroy
John McAreavey presents former Banbridge Town player Dessie Edgar with his winning raffle prize, a pin-flag from Augusta signed by US Open champion Rory McIlroy

THE recent Golf Classic in aid of both Tullylish GAA Club and the Michaela Foundation has been hailed a great success - raising almost £20,000 which will be split equally between both organisations.

Club captain John McAreavey, who was one of the chief organisers of the event to raise funds for the foundation he set up in his wife Michaela’s memory earlier this year, expressed his thanks to all those who took part and supported the event.

Fifty-five teams battled it out at Tandragee Golf Club on the last Friday in August in a bid to win prizes including a stay in the prestigious Carton House in Kildare.

And former Banbridge Town footballer Dessie Edgar became the proud owner of an Augusta flag signed by Rory McIlroy when he took the top prize in a raffle at Tullylish clubrooms later that night.

John expressed his delight at how well-attended the event had been, saying the support was much appreciated. “We really appreciate people turning out for this event,” he told the Leader. “With something like a Golf Classic a lot depends on the weather on the day but we were lucky enough to get a good day with most of the teams finished or out on the course by the time it started to rain that afternoon.

“We got a lot of support from local businesses who provided us with sponsorship of tees and greens and we are grateful to everyone who helped out and donated funds for the event.”

Tullylish GAC Chairman John McDermott said the event was a great success and thanked all those who took part or sponsored tees and greens, and also Tandragee Golf Club for their facilities and warm welcome on the day. He added that Tullylish was only too happy to support the Michaela Foundation.

“Tullylish GAC is very supportive of the aims and objectives of the Michaela Foundation and therefore we are pleased that a portion of Tullylish’s allocation of the proceeds will be used to help the club with its ongoing coaching and youth development projects, which benefits not just the young footballers but the wider community as well,” he said.

With almost £9,500 raised for the Michaela foundation, John McAreavey said plans for an educational project can now get underway as three £1,000 bursaries are offered to University students across Ireland for the year ahead.

“We have set up the Education Support Initiative to provide three students with funding for their University studies,” said John. “Two will be offered to students studying Irish and Religious Education as those are the subjects Michaela taught. And the other will be offered to someone studying any other discipline.”

The students will fill in a questionnaire and, if chosen, create and maintain a blog to show how their transition to University life is going.

“They will write about how they’re finding it having moved from home, how their studies are going and the whole social aspect.

“I suppose University has this reputation of just being one big party and alcohol is often associated with that. Michaela didn’t drink or smoke. She didn’t need any of that to boost her self-confidence and we want to show that other people can balance their social and work life in that way too.”

For more information on how to apply for the funding students, studying in the 2011/2012 academic year, can visit www.themichaelafoundation.com.