Team Houghton Conquest Image provided by Sue Ryder

Big-hearted golfers from two Bedfordshire villages raised £4,000 for a local hospice during their charity cup competition, which has been running for more than a decade.

Thirty-six players from Houghton Conquest took on 36 players from Wilstead in the 14th Houghton Wilstead Golf Cup.

Golfers from each side of the A6 gathered at Cainhoe Wood Golf Club in Beadlow on Friday 30 July 2021 for a celebration of sport and community, which drove donations for charity.

The 2021 cup was won by Wilstead, who had a well-contested total of 9 ½ points compared to Houghton’s 8 ½ points.

Organiser Ranvir Thiarra said:

“This event is about friendship and bringing the community together.

“When we first started, there were people from both villages who had never met each other. Now they play golf with each other in this annual competition and have made friends for life.

“We sadly had to cancel it in 2020 because of the pandemic, so it was great to bring everyone together again. Local community is at the core of this cup.

“We are really pleased to have raised £4,000 for the fantastic Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice. The hospice has touched so many people’s lives. It is a cause that is especially close to our hearts as one of our players, Clint Rogers, sadly passed away and received end of life care at the hospice.

“Sue Ryder do amazing work and we wanted to support them now more than ever as they have been impacted by the pandemic.

“Thank you to all the players for taking part, and to our hole sponsors and everyone who donated prizes for their support. A special thank you also to the team at Premier Solicitors who were this year’s headline sponsor.

“Wilstead winning the 2021 cup brings the overall score to a tie of seven all – so the 15th edition of the Houghton Wilstead Golf Cup in 2022 is all set up to be a great day.”

The competition was started in 2007 by the Thiarra family, who are keen golfers and have members living in both of the two Bedfordshire villages.

What began as a “friendly bit of rivalry” with eight players from each village has since blossomed and grown over the years.

The golfers have raised funds for various charities in the local community – and for the past three years they have chosen Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice in Moggerhanger near Bedford.

This was inspired by the memory of Clint Rogers, the former landlord of The Woolpack pub in Wilstead, who was supported at the end of his life by the hospice.

There was a raffle with top prizes including New Era caps, Puma and Cobra golf bags, a voucher for Cainhoe Wood Golf Club, a Your Golf Travel gift card, and bottles of wine and whisky. Players could also purchase a special balloon – which entitled them to a ‘Mulligan’ second-chance shot.

Ellie Burke, community fundraiser at Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice, said:

“Our heartfelt thanks to Ranvir and the Thiarra family, and everyone involved with the Houghton Wilstead Golf Cup. Your drive to bring everyone in the local community together and give back is really inspiring.

“The funds you have all raised help us to be able to continue to offer our compassionate care to local people and their families – and fill someone’s last days with love.”

Healthcare charity, Sue Ryder, which runs Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice, launched an appeal this summer asking people to help them fill families’ final days together with love.

By supporting their ‘Room Full of Love’ campaign, you can help Sue Ryder Nurses and staff to continue to go above and beyond, helping to give families a better goodbye. For more information visit sueryder.org/rooms.

Find out more about Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice at sueryder.org/stjohns.

   The Houghton team captain (right) presenting the Wilstead team captain (left) with the cup