Wonderful memories and future hopes

Football legend Sir Bobby Robson held his inaugural Celebrity Golf Classic at Vila Sol recently. Celebrities from sport and entertainment joined England’s best loved coach to play 18 holes in the perfect conditions of the Algarve.

Players included Gary Lineker, Sir Alex Ferguson, David Seaman, Peter Schmeichel, and of course Sir Bobby himself. The golf was followed by a gala evening, which featured an auction to raise money for the Refúgio Aboim Ascensão children’s home in Faro.

Sir Bobby Robson said: “This is a fantastic evening and it has been a huge success. Most of the celebrities are from England and lots of money has been raised for the charity.” The director of the Refúgio, Dr. Luis Villas-Boas attended the evening and said he was pleased to be taking home such a large amount of money back to the children in his care. He thanked Sir Bobby Robson and Vila Sol for all their help and generosity.

Sir Bobby was hopeful that there would be many more charity golf tournaments like this and said he was proud to be a part of the event. He revealed that when he had first been approached with the idea, he was keen because he felt honoured. He commented that he and his wife, Elsie, had spent many happy years in Portugal, when he was manager of Sporting Lisbon and then FC Porto. They had vacationed in the Algarve a number of times and always loved every aspect of the country.

Sir Bobby praised the golf course’s immaculate condition and said that the facilities at Vila Sol were impeccable, adding: “It was such a wonderful place to host an event. In total, 220 people attended and I would like to thank everyone who was involved for their generosity and kindness. It really has been an amazing day. I must thank all the people who flew over especially to support this inaugural golf classic and the charity.”

When it came to the auction, the items that earned the most money were signed shirts by Jonny Wilkinson and David Beckham, which sold for £8,000. The second highest earner, £6,000, was six seats in the Newcastle United Football Club director’s box. A shirt signed by Luís Figo was bought for £3.000, which brought the total money raised for the Refúgio from the auction to £40,450.

When I asked Sir Bobby Robson about his feelings on the recent Euro 2004 tournament, he immediately said: “Portugal has done a remarkable job on the stadia and the adoring public are an inspiration. The tournament was a great success, and I think it is great that Portugal was in the final. The electric atmosphere may not have been the same if Portugal had not played as well as they did.” Sir Bobby has been delighted to spend time back in the country he came to know so well during his career. “I’ve really enjoyed spending time in Portugal throughout Euro 2004. It’s brought back wonderful memories for me.”

If you would like to make a donation to the Refúgio Aboim Ascensão call 289 822 039 or email raa-ei@ip.pt. You can also visit the website www.raa-ei.org. By Natasha Smith