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A charity golf competition was organised by a group of professionals from BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha, UK, at The Shire Golf Course in Barnet, Hertfordshire, on Thursday 3 September 2009. The annual event has become an eagerly anticipated date in the calendar because not only is it a great day out on the course and an occasion to network, but also an opportunity to raise funds to help educate underprivileged children from rural areas of India.

This year’s event provided an added challenge with blustery winds sweeping across the picturesque settings. The first group teed off promptly at noon with the strong winds troubling even the most experienced golfers on the first hole. The challenges continued for much of the day and following a difficult round, with some faring better than others, the scores were counted before the group moved to the dining area for dinner.

A presentation about the charity initiative followed thereafter, where leading BAPS volunteer Raj Soneji explained the opportunities the funds would provide to children in helping with their schooling. He also shared accounts of astonishing achievements by some of those helped from previous charity appeals.

Praful Depala, another member of the organising group, explained it well when he said, “If we felt the playing conditions today were tough, they are nothing compared to the conditions most of these children live with day in day out.”

With the generous support of all the players as well as the sponsors and supporters, a total of over £10,000 was raised for this worthy cause.

The prize-giving ceremony at the end provided an opportunity to recognise the individual performances of the participants. The trophy-winners were:

  • 1st place – Manoj Saluja
  • 2nd place – Surendra Shah
  • Best first 9 – Micky Butt
  • Best back 9 – Veenay Chheda
  • Nearest to the pin – Nilesh Soneji
  • Longest drive – Vijay Thakkar

Additionally, Nayan Pattni won the competition for the best score on the six par 3 holes.In his victory speech, Manoj Saluja emphasised that the real winners of the day are the more than fifty children who will benefit from the life-changing opportunities the funding will provide.

Approximately sixty participants thoroughly enjoyed the course and the occasion, and the organisers look forward to similar support from everyone next year.

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