Greenkeepers conquer the Irish Sea to raise awareness of MND

Karl Hansellin Industry News

Greenkeepers formed part of a team which made a treacherous journey from Northern Ireland to Scotland in a homemade raft.

The 12-strong team featured five greenkeepers who made the ten hour journey from Donaghdee in Northern Ireland to Portpatrick in Scotland.

In doing so, the team raised more than £17,000 for MND Scotland, which works to tackle motor neuron disease.

The 20-mile journey was the brainchild of former Wentworth greenkeeper Tommy Monteith, who was inspired by a similar journey his father had once made with his friend Alan Patterson.

Alan, known as Ackie, was diagnosed with motor neuron disease eighteen months ago and Michael, who grew up in Portpatrick, said: "Around twenty years ago they did a charity row from Stranraer to Portpatrick, using six fertiliser barrels tied together."

"We wanted to do something and Tommy thought it would he good to give a nod to that journey. MND is a horrible disease and completing this challenge was a great way to raise awareness and support for the charity."

MND is a rapidly-progressing terminal illness which causes sufferers to lose the ability to walk, eat, speak and breath unaided. Average life expectancy is just fourteen months after diagnosis.

Despite having researched tide times in the build-up. there was no guarantee of success. But starting the journey at 4.30am, the twelve men were determined that nothing could stop them.

One of the crew, Michael Mann of Walton Heath said: "Mid-channel it got choppy and we were thinking we shouldn't be here. There were white horses on the waves. but we knew the tide would soon turn and our camaraderie and sense that we were doing it for a good cause kept us going."

"When we came into the village, there were people cheering us on, a piper playing and fireworks going off. It was quite emotional because Alan was there in his wheelchair to greet us."

If you would like to donate to the cause, check out the JustGiving page at

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