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Jun. 5, 2020 | Friday
Local News
Golf auction raises $6,000 for Newark Neighbours
NOTL Golf Club pro Billy SImkin and owner John Wiens (rear) keep a social distance as Harry Huizer and Martha Cruikshank are the first group to tee off for the season on Saturday. (Ricky Watson photo)

What started out over lunch as an idea to raise a few dollars for Newark Neighbours has blossomed into a major fundraiser for the NOTL food bank.

Niagara-on-the-Lake head pro Billy Simkin and associate pro Ricky Watson were having a bite to eat last week when Watson suggested that, after a long-delayed start to the golf season, “Everyone will want the first tee time.”

So Simkin decided, “Let’s just auction it off and give the money to the Newark Neighbours Food Bank.”

His goal: $500.

The result: more than $6,000 has been raised for the agency, led by a generous, anonymous donation of $5,000 from one of the club’s members.

Several golfers who bid on the prized tee time opted to just donate their bids to the food bank, while others were inspired to give donations directly to Newark Neighbours.

“I was very taken aback when I received an email from a member offering $5,000,” Simkin said in a message to members.

“What was more impressive was the request to remain anonymous and to give the tee time to some of the legends of our club and our greatest ambassadors.”

He reached out to NOTL golf veterans Jim Brown and Doug Garrett, but both are still in “spring training” getting ready for the 2020 season.

Instead, Simkin nominated women’s Solheim Cup team captain Martha Cruikshank and men’s Ryder Cup captain Harry Huizer, and “both were very delighted to get the call and graciously accepted.”

“I could not imagine a better way to start what has been a difficult spring for all of us,” said Simkin, in thanking club members for the outpouring of support for Newark Neighbours.

Newark Neighbours president Laura Gibson said the organization was "truly grateful" for the donation.

"What a wonderful surprise this was for Newark Neighbours! The funds will allow us to continue to stock our shelves at the food bank and serve those in need in our community," Gibson said.

"We are very fortunate to have such strong community support to see us through this pandemic."  

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