The annual ‘Errol Brown Children in Need at Christmas Charity Golf Tournament’ hit a new high during the recently concluded 2019 edition, bypassing the $1Million mark with a grand total of $1,040,000. And it took them just seventeen years to do it. Seventy-five per cent of the money raised has been donated to charity, with the remaining 25 per cent used to help defray expenses.
“That is an amazing accomplishment,” Minister of Social Services and Urban Development, the Hon. Frankie A. Campbell told tournament organizers, patrons and participants attending the event’s awards ceremonies. The tournament was hosted at the Ocean Club Golf Course, Paradise Island. “The fact that a group of persons can come together, doing something that they enjoy, while simultaneously contributing to the upliftment of others, and mostly children in need, is profound,” Minister Campbell said. “This is a group of mostly Bahamians who are unselfish, who are generous, who see a need that they want to identify with, and help, and have been steadfast to that mission for all of these years. That is commendable, particularly at a time when some in our society think altruism is dying. This tournament proves that this belief is far from the truth especially as it relates to this group of persons.”
The donations have benefited children across various spectra including those from the community of persons with disabilities, children who are Wards of the State and reside in the government-owned and operated Children’s Homes, in addition to those who reside in non-governmental facilities to which the Govt. of The Bahamas provides subventions through the Ministry of Social Services and Urban Development. Recipients include the Ranfurly Home for Children, the Nazareth Centre, the Bilney Lane Children’s Home, the Children’s Emergency Hostel, and the Children’s Club. The Bahamas AIDS Foundation and Every Child Counts have also been beneficiaries of the tournament’s generosity, and that’s just the list of beneficiaries in 2018 alone.
This year, the focus will include children residing in Children’s Homes in Grand Bahama and Abaco — the two islands, parts of which were left devastated as a result of the passage of Hurricane Dorian. Organizers have donated funds to children’s charities in New Providence, Grand Bahama, Abaco and Cat Island over the years. “I think of the groups of children that would have benefited over the years and how it must have impacted their lives positively; but even more so with all that we have gone through this year with Hurricane Dorian, knowing that there is a sustained group that you can rely on and can predict will come through, is important,” Minister Campbell said.
“I commend the Founding Friends who began all of this 17 years ago. I commend the organizers who continue to keep the tradition going and I commend the partnership that they offer the ministry, and by extension the government, and the benefit that the children continue to get from them. “That has been the focus and I am told that will remain the focus because we all have an obligation and a duty to ensure that as best as possible, our children get the care, the attention, the safety, the protection and the empowerment that is necessary to result in them being good, productive citizens,” Minister Campbell added. Mr. Chris Darville, who serves as a Member of the Organizing Committee and was one of 24 friends who comprised the tournament’s Founding Members along with the late Mr. Errol Brown whose name the tournament bears, said the group never imagined reaching the $1Million mark. Mr. Brown passed away in 2015.
Other Committee Members include: Mrs. Ginette Brown, wife of the late Mr. Errol Brown, Ms. Leonie Brown, daughter, Mr. Paul Major, Mr. Fred Lunn, and Mr. Nicolas Mosko. “Seventeen years ago, a group of friends, 24 of us, got together for a round of golf and raised $3,000 which was donated to the Nazareth Centre,” Mr. Darville reminisced. “Errol encouraged us to form a Foundation, which we did, and the second year we were able to raise $30,000 and it has climbed every year since.” Mr. Darville said the largest amount of money generated from the tournament in a single year was “just under $90,000.” He said bypassing the $1Million mark at the 2019 event, was a testament to the steadfastness of everyone involved with the tournament – organizers, Founding Friends, sponsors and participants.
“Today we were able to bypass the $1Million mark. It feels great and I am sure that Errol is very proud of this accomplishment. When we first started, we never imagined that we would have hit the $1Million mark, but we have a great committee, we have great sponsors, and we have great golfers and people who participate each year to make the event an annual success.” Mr. Darville said the tournament has attracted an average 120 golfers annually, making it: “The best golf tournament we have in the country – bar none.” “We are grateful to be able to carry on this tradition that was started 17 years ago and I intend to be around until the end,” Mr. Darville added.