EXCLUSIVE by MIKE ALMOND [email protected]
Blinded British policeman David Rathband is due to tee off today (Friday) in a charity golfing tournament in the UK to raise cash for injured emergency service personnel.
Teams of golfers in the Pc David Rathband’s Blue Lamp Foundation’s first-ever golfing fundraiser at the Ramside Hall Hotel in County Durham will be competing for a top prize worth thousands of Euros, donated by generous Algarve businesses.
The officer, 43, who was blinded after being shot in the face by fugitive gunman Raoul Moat last summer, will be joined on the course by other blind golfers, emergency service workers and business people.
The event is followed by a black-tie gala dinner in the north-east of England, with proceeds from both events going to the foundation which was set up by the officer last year.
“It will be almost a year to the day since I survived what was a horrific attack when this event takes place,” Pc Rathband told the Algarve Resident.
“But I am determined not to dwell on what has happened in the past but to celebrate the future.”
The foundation aims to raise £1 million within three years to help support emergency service workers criminally injured in the line of duty.
Detective Constable Chris Clarke of the Northumbria Police Major Investigation Team and the Family Liaison officer for PC David Rathband, contacted me at the Algarve Resident at the end of last year to see if it was possible to put together a top-notch first prize for the golf day.
Well, I am delighted to say that with the assistance of Kate Ayres-Rouse of Yellow Kite and the generosity of two of the region’s leading golf resorts and a well-known restaurant, the winning team of four golfers will be jetting to the Algarve for a golfing extravaganza.
They will be staying for three nights in a luxury apartment at Vale do Lobo, including one round of golf on the Royal or Ocean golf course.
“Many of our property owners and guests are from the UK so we are very much aware of the tragic events which took place last year, injuring PC David Rathband,” said Diogo Gaspar Ferreira, chief executive of Vale do Lobo Algarve.
“We are delighted to be able to support the charity which he has set up and look forward to welcoming the winners of the prize to Vale do Lobo later in the year.”
The four winners will also be playing a round at one of the five Pestana courses in the Algarve.
James Harrison, Sales and Marketing Director at Pestana Golf and Resorts, said: “We are very happy to help this worthy cause and feel confident that the winners will enjoy their day with us. Please pass on our best wishes for a successful fund-raising event.”
And to round off a wonderful experience, they will be dining one evening at the number one restaurant in Almancil on Trip Advisor, Bistro des Z’Artes, run by chef/patron Jonnie Pratt.
“We feel quite privileged to be asked to donate to this exceptional charity. Whilst we may be based in the Algarve, we are strongly connected to our clients in the UK and felt shocked and saddened at the events that took place last year,” said Jonnie Pratt.
“For something so positive to be launched by PC David Rathband, demonstrates exceptional dignity and bravery and we are pleased to support it.”