So the Swings & Smiles charity golf day is over for another year. This year we really focused on improving the event and the funds raised from it. Richard (Corporate Fundraising Lead) and Tor (Trustee) started planning the event in December and it has been 5 months of hard work to launch what was a very successful event.

Our thanks go out to Apple Print & Creative who amongst many other things have supported us so generously by sponsoring the day.

The weather gods weren’t playing ball and so the 21 teams turned up to a day of drizzle which deteriorated during the day. But all players were resolute and donned their waterproof gear in order to do battle with the course and the elements.

Host Newbury and Crookham Golf Club put on an excellent day, the course was in excellent condition, and staff were friendly and supportive. The day started with bacon rolls and coffee before play and the barbeque they put on after was outstanding. One of the things we wanted to get more consistent was the food and Newbury and Crookham certainly delivered, with many players complimenting the food provided.

This year we tried to improve the player experience with better prizes and an upgrade to the auction and silent auction to improve the funds raised. David Wood, former director at Village Financial Services joined the organising committee and gave us guidance from a golfer's perspective for the day as well as giving us advice on where we could raise more money. The firms’ new owner Craig Power also provided two teams for the day, a “beat the pro” competition and provided funding for some of the raffle and auction items.

Photographer Tim Easton did a fantastic job of adapting to the weather on the day to take some lovely photos. We are hugely grateful to him for his services.

One of our parents, Michael, bravely presented what Swings & Smiles mean to him and his family, and this certainly helped the players understand what they were supporting. Well done Michael, we had many positive comments on your bravery and emotion.

Highlights of the silent auction were a gin hamper and tour and a beer hamper and tour. Our thanks go out to Ramsbury Brewery and distillery, The River Test Distillery, Hawkridge Distillers, VB Distillery and The Henley Distillery. And for the beer hamper we had contributions from Ramsbury (again), Siren Brewery, Phantom Brewery, Ridgeway Brewery, Renegade Brewery and Loddon Brewery. The two hampers raised over £200 between them.

Richard conducted the live auction and this raised around £1,000 with the highlights being a bottle of 1999 Dom Perignon Champagne, a four ball at Justin Rose’s home course North Hants and an English sparkling wine hamper. Thanks to Winding Wood Vineyard, Laithwaites, Goodworth Vineyard, All Saints and Cobbs for donating bottles and Black Chalk Vineyard for providing a free vineyard tour.

We also were able to raise over £1000 through our sponsors, which included Newbury Building Society, Village Financial Services, Willmott's Plastic Building Products, Gavin Parkhouse Events, Westbrook Advisers, Cobbs Farm, Claritas, Tim Easton Photography, JB Groundcare, Francis Legacy Planning, Harridge Financial Services and of course our title sponsors, Apple Print & Creative.

There are just too many people and firms to thank, donors, sponsors, volunteers, players and many more. The day was a massive success and we raised a record amount of money of over £7000, we can’t thank you enough.

As organisers we will now have a meeting to conduct a post golf day debrief and analysis. We have many ideas to improve the day still further, whether it be for fundraising or improving the player experience. To everyone who helped thank you, have a lovely summer. We will be back on the horse in December to make next years' event even better.