A selfless schoolboy organised a six-round charity golf marathon in memory of his best friend, who died the day before his 13th birthday two years ago.
Starting at 5am on August 1, organiser Conor Cull and two other players completed the marathon – involving 108 holes and almost 30 miles of walking – and raised more that £2,500 for the Captains’ Charities at West Byfleet Golf Club.
One of the key beneficiaries was the Matthew Hackney Foundation, set up in memory of the former Fulbrook School pupil, who died from anaphylaxis shortly after a birthday visit to the cinema.
The Matthew Hackney Foundation supports local young people’s organisations and families of bereaved children, as well as funding research into and raising awareness of asthma and allergies.
Conor, 15, who lives close to the Hackney family in Byfleet, Surrey, was joined for the marathon by fellow members John Rashbrook – a fellow friend of the Hackney family – and Colin Harding.
“It was a very special day. I was participating in memory of my very close friend Matt Hackney,” Conor said.
“We were very close friends, went through primary and secondary school together and played for a local football team. We shared a lot in common, including our love of all sport, and our families remain close friends.”
Sponsorship from the golf marathon on August 1 contributed to the club’s charity fund, which raises over £30,000 annually.
As well as the Matthew Hackney Foundation, the captain’s fund supports Multiple Sclerosis – the original benefactor at club’s first charity day in 1982 – and St Luke’s Cancer Centre at the Royal Surrey Hospital.
Colin said each of the first four rounds took two hours to complete, with the final two taking longer as the three-ball started to tire.
“It was a fantastic atmosphere with the club members and the families of the participants, plus Matthew’s parents Richard and Penny Hackney and their daughter Elizabeth, cheering us to this final green,” he said.
“It was one of those amazing experiences I’ll remember for the rest of my life. It was worth it, particularly as people have been so generous.”
John Rashbook, one of the participants, added: “I am very close friends of Richard and Penny (Matthew’s parents). I don’t think I would forgive myself if an event at out club contributing towards the Matthew Hackney Foundation was not supported by me.”