Two Warwickshire golfing buddies have raised more than £7,500 for a local children’s charity after successfully completing an 11-day walking circuit of golf courses across three Midlands counties.

Pat Manning from Warwick and Bill Ryan from Leamington covered 160 miles, playing a single hole of golf at 35 courses, starting and finishing at Leamington & County Golf Club.

Arriving back in Leamington on Saturday, they followed a route via Warwick, Kenilworth, Stoneleigh, Coventry, Sheldon, Solihull, Birmingham, Kings Norton, Bromsgrove, Droitwich, Worcester, Evesham, Welford, Bidford and Stratford-upon-Avon.

Pat, 59, and Bill, 62, have almost doubled their original fundraising target for nominated charity Molly Ollys, which supports children with life-limiting and terminal illness and their families.

Pat said: “This has been the most incredible experience, it has been enjoyable but tough and has stretched me in terms of stamina and resilience. From beginning to end we met some lovely people and we were made to feel welcome by everybody.

“We did have times when we had to dig deep when the going got tough but at no time did we consider giving up. We were spurred on by the donations people were making and the work that Rachel and her team do for the children and families they help.”

Bill said: “On reflection this is one of the best challenges I have undertaken in terms of stamina, determination and endurance. When times got a little tough the one thing that kept me going was that we could not disappoint the people who had sponsored us and I could not let Rachel down and the wonderful work she and her team does.”

The pair were joined on the penultimate leg of their journey by fellow Leamington & County Golf Club member, 51-year-old Neil Betheridge.

An unexpected encounter with one of the bar supervisors at Blackwell Golf Club in Bromsgrove also helped ‘drive home’ the human message behind the men’s fundraising.

Sophie Coleman, from Birmingham, told them how she was supported by the charity who donated a new laptop to help her continue her college work towards a Travel and Tourism qualification whilst undergoing six months of chemotherapy for Hodgkins Lymphoma at the age of 17.

Sophie, now 21, has now been given the all-clear. She said: “Molly Ollys is an amazing charity as it gave me something to look forward to whilst I was feeling rubbish. I perked up knowing I’d be able to spend time setting my new laptop up.”

Pat said: “That was probably the best day for us. Meeting Sophie was incredible and talking to her about the help she received from the charity more than justified this challenge.”

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

Rachel, pictured here with Pat and Bill at journey’s end, Leamington & County GC on Sat March 26th said: “Through our work at Molly Ollys, we have been privileged to meet some very special individuals and Bill and Pat are two such people. What they have achieved in terms of both awareness and funds is phenomenal.

“Before they embarked on their challenge they took time to really understand the significance of the impact of our work and the potential impact they could have. As a result they went above and beyond and their achievement should be fully celebrated. Huge thanks to them both and all their support team who made it happen.”

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