Generous golfers from all over Kent and Sussex raised an astounding £13,000 towards the exciting new Discovery Centre for Rye Harbour Nature Reserve at a golf challenge event held on Tuesday 24 July.
Held at the historic Rye Golf Club, the famous links course overlooking the Reserve, the Golf Challenge saw some 72 players take part in the fundraising competition, each setting off in teams of four to compete for a range of honours, including ‘Nearest the Pin’, ‘Best Team’, and ‘Straightest Drive’ down the fairway. Hole-in-one hopefuls also tried to win a Mini Convertible – generously sponsored for the event by car dealer Barretts of Ashford – but luck escaped all 72 players on the day.
With the course itself an important area for wildlife, the golf teams were raising funds for the new Discovery Centre, designed to act as the key starting point for visitors to explore and learn about the exceptional wildlife and rare plants and habitats populating both the Nature Reserve and the wider region. Tony Lloyd, former captain at the Club and chair of the Nature Reserve’s Management Committee said the project is a vital one for the area: “Everyone here, golf club included, benefits from our fabulous Nature Reserve, but we need to support it if it’s going to continue to thrive. The Discovery Centre will help tens of thousands of visitors enjoy this special place, and the Golf Challenge was a great, fun way to raise money for the cause.”
Once the scores were in, Club Captain and event co-ordinator Simon Compton handed out special Rye Golf Club holdalls to Team winners Paul Hodder, Brett Wilson, Mark Trowell and Peter Murr, as well as magnums of claret, donated by Ellis Brothers of Richmond, to ‘Nearest the Pin’ winner Charles Thacker and ‘Straightest Drive of the Day’ golfer Richard Costain.
The Golfing fundraiser takes the Discovery Centre Appeal a big step closer to its goal of raising £500,000 from supporters to get the innovative visitor and education centre built. A joint project being developed by Sussex Wildlife Trust (who manage the Reserve) and the Friends of Rye Harbour Nature Reserve, the Discovery Centre is targeted to cost £2.5m to build, and will provide vital education space for schools and a rolling programme of exhibitions, talks, walks and other programmes to engage the over 350,000 visitors to Rye Harbour each year more fully in understanding and looking after the wildlife and special habitats on the 1100-acre Reserve.
Appeal Chairman Alastair Fairley said: “We’re indebted to Rye Golf Club, the event’s co-ordinators and all of the Challenge players for contributing so generously towards our Appeal. The new Discovery Centre will be a real asset for this area and will help us look after it for years to come, so it’s fantastic so many people are getting behind our campaign, raising funds – and having fun at the same time!”