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Lancaster lady captain goes that extra mile

LANCASTER Golf Club’s lady captain Josephine O’Neill is certainly taking her fundraising role seriously. She’s already played a part in cycling 500 miles, has played 100 holes in a day and now is planning to walk 100km!

And it’s all in aid of a charity close to her family’s heart. She knew that she wanted to support a service charity during her year in office as her eldest son is a captain in the Royal Artillery. O’Neill explained: “With some advice and a lot of internet searching I eventually discovered Battle Back then Battle Back Golf – it seemed that destiny had struck as not only had I found a great cause to support, it was also golf-related and one that our own members could relate to.

“I got in touch with Col Tristan Crew, who was the CO at the time and eventually went down to see the set up and facilities at Headley Court. “The trip was inspirational and confirmed that club captain Chris Foster and I had made the right choice.

“I deliberately chose major physical challenges to take myself and the captain out of our comfort zones and in theory merely scratch the surface of what Battle Back Golfers go through in a normal day, every day, mentally, physically and emotionally.”

Her first challenge saw O’Neill and several others static cycle the equivalent distance of Lancaster Golf Club to the R&A at St Andrews. “We successfully cycled 500 miles in six and a half hours,” she said.

Next up was a 100-hole challenge, which saw her tee off at 4.15am and then be joined on each hole by a representative from the club. “My husband Gerry did the first watch and also in action were the captain, manager, assistant professional – the captain and junior captain for the final 10 holes.

“It was a long and difficult day but each partner kept my spirits high and we completed a new round record with the third 18 holes completed in one hour 45 minutes in a betterball Stableford format. “It was a constant stream of golf with no breaks and I walked the whole time in 17 hours.

“During this period four of the BBG golfers also took part, including Bernie Broad of Ashton-under-Lyne Golf Club, in their own challenge by completing 36 holes and for obvious reasons they used buggies though had minimal rest between rounds. “Euphoria reigned at the finish – I felt delirious, hyper and exhausted.

“I would like to give a big thank you to BBG who introduced it to the North of England, and were also featured on TV in Surprise Surprise, my playing partners, those who assisted on the day, the members who sponsored us and the supporters who motivated me all day with cheers, applause and banter.

“My next challenge is to walk 100km in less than 30 hours and my son and a few of his army mates are training me and will hopefully pace me on the day.”