When it comes to fundraising, two golfing friends from Warwickshire certainly aren’t playing around!

Pat Manning from Warwick and Bill Ryan from Leamington & County Golf Club are taking on an epic 11-day golf challenge in aid of local children’s charity Molly Ollys this week (from Monday March 14th.)

The pair are hoping to raise more than £4k as they walk 160 miles between 35 golf courses, stopping to play a hole at each.

Starting and finishing at their home club, they will follow a route via golf clubs across three counties, including Warwick, Kenilworth, Stoneleigh, Coventry, Sheldon, Solihull, Birmingham, Kings Norton, Bromsgrove, Bidford, Droitwich, Worcester, Evesham, Welford and Stratford-upon-Avon.

The challenge marks the first in a year of fundraising for Molly Ollys at the Leamington & County Golf Club, at which both men are longstanding members.

Bill, who is current club captain, said: “I have been looking at a number of charities to support throughout my year as Captain which was becoming a difficult decision as there are so many worthwhile causes.

“It became easier after meeting with the founder of Molly Olly Wishes who described to me the incredible work that they do for young children who are going through extremely difficult times.”

Pat, 59, and Bill, 62, clocked up the miles in preparation for the challenge from March 14th which will see them cover an average of 15 miles a day, with clubs in tow.

Pat said: “We’ve done some fundraising but never staged anything quite like this before. We wanted to do something that’s not been done before but on a golfing theme. Playing 36 holes is a normal format in golf but I thought we could do it with a bit of a twist by making it an endurance test as well.

“The weather is predicted to pose the biggest potential problem. And, we’re hoping we don’t get any muscular injuries along the route. But whatever’s thrown at us we’ll get through it one way or another.”

Molly Ollys was established in 2011 following the death of Rachel and Tim Ollerenshaw’s eight-year-old daughter Molly from a rare kidney cancer.

Throughout the 10 years that the charity has been running, it has:-

  • granted more than 2,500 wishes
  • supported more than 16,000 children
  • distributed more than 13,000 Olly The Brave books to more than 70 hospitals
  • raised more than £3 million

Between 2017 and 2020, the charity funded Birmingham’s first paediatric palliative consultant as there was no such consultant for the region. That position has now become permanent and is currently funded through the NHS.

The charity works alongside the NHS to support projects within the hospitals and the community. One key project was the creation and refurbishment of Magnolia House at Birmingham Children’s Hospital. This is a safe and non-clinical space where medical teams and families can have important discussions.

The charity is well-known for its therapeutic toy lion, Olly The Brave, which has its own Hickman line and a detachable mane. The soft toy helps to explain and normalise the effects of chemotherapy. These form part of an Olly The Brave pack which includes a six-part book series. Further information is available at: www.mollyolly.co.uk

Founder Rachel Ollerenshaw said: “Pat and Bill have certainly come up with a novel way to fundraise and one that will definitely be a challenge. The support from Leamington Golf Club and the wider golfing community to enable this event has been great and big thanks to everyone involved at the clubs and those who have donated.“

This page will be updated throughout their two week trek – the latest news, as of Tuesday evening, March 15th is that the £4K target has already been achieved with donations being received frequently. The boys so far are faring well.

To sponsor Pat and Bill visit: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/pat-manning